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Quality in Rifts: Remembering Pete Overton

Quality In Rifts: Magic Netbook

By Pete Overton

Version 2.0
Last Updated: 01/18/2001

Table of Contents

A Brief History of Magic
The Theory of Magic
Arcanum Minoris
Arcanum Majoris
Roleplaying Mages
Tactics and Survival for Mages
Mages of Note


So here I am a year later at version 2.0 of the Magic file for Rifts. The first obvious question would be why I am doing this. The answer to that lies in elegant simplicity -- it was time. I had reread the old file and realized it was out of date and tragically simplistic and very, er, borderline on certain familiar features to other games. :) Aside from that, it never really added an air of depth and mystery to the whole magic system. What I'm not trying to do is add more spells, come up with more systems and so forth. What I am trying to do is to present a unified theory of magic and make it consistent so that GMs who elect to use this will be able to present a much deeper and more detailed version of magic than exists in canon Rifts.

Another reason is that I've been on sort of a magic swing lately. After spending a year plus detailing lots of Coalition material, proofreading other material for other games and posting a lot of technological stuff, I think it's time for me to swing back to the other side of the spectrum. Magic in Rifts has received a short handle, squished in between the toy at the back of the manual and the psychic powers which seem more inherently interesting. Only the Line Walker and Techno-Wizard caught any attention at all from the main manual, and Federation of Magic while more useful for its essays did little to add a great deal of depth to the system.

Yet another reason is that my original document had very little to do with Rifts Earth itself. I sort of got away from one of my main rules of this page -- keep it about Earth. A broadly envisioned history of multiversal magic was put to screen last time, but when it came down to it, there was little practicality in that for your everyday "Line Mage" that most players play. This document, while still epic in its view, eventually filters down to useful everyday material that mages can use.

This isn't necessarily for the faint of heart -- there is a lot of pseudo-philosophy and background material in this. In fact, arguably that's all it is. But if you've read this page, you'll know what to expect, I suppose. I'm more seasoned and ponderous these days, which is why little crops up on the page anymore -- but when it does, you can be sure it's been given a great deal of thought. Some people won't want or need this level of detail in their games, and that's fair enough too. Use what you wish, discard the rest, or ignore it all. I do use this in my own visions of the game however, but that can be worked around easily enough. I don't provide any real systems or anything to use any of this information. Most of you are pretty smart and can integrate it yourselves. If you really can't, E-Mail me and I'll provide helpful suggestions, but most people I talk to are smarter than I am. :)

So am I promising an easy read? Probably not. In fact it may just end up making your life that much harder, especially if you have two or more mages in your group. But the depth it will ultimately bring will be far more rewarding, because it will provide a frame of reference for mage characters to be created. As it stands now mages exist in a vacuum -- they just do what they do and there's no real reason behind it. This document will hopefully given them some reason and a backdrop to work with. You could play without this and be just as happy, but most of the people that read this page prefer this sort of detail, and that's what I'm here for. :)

Now this is VERY IMPORTANT. The Arcana system as laid out below was originally the creation of one Jim Vassilakos for his AD&D games. I could not get in touch with him to ask if using this was okay, so I want to be very clear that the Arcana system is all his. The genius belongs to him and the mistakes are probably mine. In the adaption process all I did was drop some of his mana rules (which were represented in Rifts well enough with PPE) and add two more schools of magic -- Chronomancy and Technomancy. Otherwise it is mostly Jim's work and while I've adapted it, fundamentally it is his brain that inspired this, so keep that in mind. And if anyone sees him out there online or he runs into this page and happens to read this, please mail me and reassure me that it was okay to use it. I'm very paranoid about these things. :P

So, what can you expect? Well, a more detailed look at the history of magic, necessarily including a closer look at the Old Ones. The mechanics of magic explained, primarily in the difference between PPE and ISP, spell vs. ritual magic, how and why natural phenomenon affect PPE flow, how ley lines work and what rifts are, and casting theory. It then progresses on to a brief examination of the Arcanum Minoris, specifically what it is and its nature, followed by a closer (but probably brief) examination of each of the colleges of magic. Then we progress to the Arcanum Majoris, explaining how to get to it, what the difference between it and Minoris is and different metamagical theories. Finally, a brief section on roleplaying mages, including some ultimate goals they might have, how to survive as a mage, tactics, and so forth.

And a brief note. Very little is said about psychic powers in this file because this is the Magic file. I will be writing up the Psychic file in the near future I hope, which will detail that side of things. Patience, young Skywalker. :)

So, all of this said, step through the glowing portal into the mists of history first...

-- Pete

PS: If you don't like long introductions with lots of babbling about myself, too damn bad. ;)

A Brief History of Magic

Note: The following is a document penned by the late Archmage Aurelanis, who was famous in the later stages of his career for his metaphysical and historical research. Known to be quick-tempered but very wise, he wandered the megaverse looking for answers to all of existence itself, but could never stray far from his home, Earth. In fact, he was raised on the outskirts of Lazlo where his Independent Center for Metaphysical Studies still stands today. A huge blackrock tower dedicated to the exchange of theories and discoveries on the answers to the questions of reality itself, they have persevered after his death honorably. Shortly after word of his death reached the Council of Learning, a warded and sealed package arrived in the chambers of Plato himself, and when it was opened, revealed a book bound in bright orange binding with a dark green ornate cover. Plato was rumoured to have remarked, "The old man always was colourblind." The following is the document of the same title, A Brief History of Magic, which in fact covers a wide range of topics.

In the Beginning...

Before time literally existed, there was only the One Universe. That too is an arbitrary title given to an abstraction, a theory of life before time and dimensions existed. So too did magic not exist, only the great primordial soup and whatever strange beings might have existed that we cannot even comprehend or visualize. And there was the Void. This is the confusing part because there were, strictly speaking, no divisions between anything -- all was One. And yet ancient texts mention the Void explicitly as being its own location, a paradox that confuses us to this very day. One cannot discuss this pretime era without linking it to the very basic question that drives many scientists and mages alike -- what is the purpose of the megaverse? Were we able to grasp this mystery, we feel the rest of it would fall into line in a sort of grand unified theory.

Most metaphysical authorites feel that the megaverse was initially created as a sort of living experiment, the Eternal-level parallel to a maze scientists place rats into, with cheese at the end as a reward. Each authority varies on what the cheese may be and who the scientists are, but none seem to disagree on who the rats are. What is known is that the megaverse is set up like an onion, multilayered and complex. From what we know metaphysically, it is obvious that the megaverse is a challenge to understand, but it has been done before in rare circumstances, although the whereabouts of those who have gone before are currently unknown. Many seem to think that they ascended with the Progenitors, while others take a more sinister view and claim that those who come to truly understand the megaverse are erased from existence upon their point of ascension. The former believe that the Progenitors are forging an experiment to determine whether more like themselves can be produced, while the latter believe the same except that they are not welcomed with open arms but destroyed out of fear.

Others feel that the original creators never intended for the One Universe to work, and indeed feel that they discarded it like a child bored with a new toy, leaving the door open for their minions to step in and shape things. The obvious nihilistic overtures of this are usually too much for most to handle. A variant on this theory suggests that the Progenitors themselves still walk amongst us, nudging and tweaking their megaversal toy, thus preventing anyone from gaining a true understanding of it. Surely if they were as infinitely powerful as suggested, however, they would not need to walk among us, able to do these things with but the merest thought. Yet another variant suggests that the One Universe was created staticly at its origins, but then left to its own devices as the Progenitors watched for their own amusement. In this theory, the megaverse is represented as a large gameboard and each Progenitor wields pieces representing worlds and races uncountable and they jockey for position amongst each other. This theory is most disturbing because it suggests that all of existence is merely a whim to them and when they get bored of the game, it will all end. A variant to the game theory suggests that there are both good and evil Progenitors and they wield us for domination of their philosophy. However, it is my belief that on such a scale, moralities like "good" and "evil" would not apply.

What is clear is that this mysterious Progenitor race, if indeed it is more than one "entity," has never left any clear evidence of their work. They are believed to have created the One Universe and maintained its purity, and they did not exactly leave fingerprints all over the cosmos. Indeed, their existence is theorized because we suspect that we are incapable of consciously conceptualizing of their true nature. More cynical metaphysicists claim that this too was a defensive measure by the paranoid Progenitors, though this is dismissed as merely the limitations of the current form of humanity. It is believed that with future evolution, our limited state may be transcended and we will become closer to understanding. What is interesting to note is that many of the other so-called "alien" races that we have talked to seem no closer to understanding or visualizing these Progenitors than we are. There are two possible exceptions that we hypothesize but have been unable to prove. First, the Elder Dragon races were by their own claims the first to be Created and will be the last to die in the megaverse as we know it today. By these we do not mean the Chiang-Ku or the other lesser races, but rather the pure dragons of ancient stock and untold power. The dragons we know are to the Elder Draconic races as we are currently to the dragons we know. We suspect they have a deep understanding of the megaverse and its primordial state, but we have only ever found one and it did not talk to us, being utterly alien to our ways of thinking.

The second exception are either the Progenitor's true legacy or their worst mistake, depending on who you as, but they are known to us simply as the Great Old Ones.

The Great Old Ones & The Time of Chaos

There exists an often-copied book by the name of The Tristine Chronicles that claims to tell the tale of the rise and fall of the Old Ones, most of it limited to their own little world. Let me assure you that it most certainly did not begin there but it did indeed end there, and the scale was unimaginable to us mortals. I do not think I have to retell the stories of the Great Old Ones, but for the context of this history, I will recite the important parts.

To their origins, there exists a nigh infinite library of books on the matter, but we laboured long and hard wading through the endless texts and have assembled what we believe to be a mostly accurate picture of them and their natures. Regardless of which theory one subscribes to about the Progenitor race, it is clear that at some point they left. The exact circumstances of this withdrawl is not known, though minions to the Old Ones repeatedly tell stories of the Old Ones overthrowing the Progenitor races, though no evidence of this was ever found. It is highly unlikely, but remains a possibility in light of how many gods around the megaverse routinely overthrow their own progenitors. However, the most likely theory is that they withdrew, presumably to higher dimensions that we cannot reach, and left the One Universe to its own devices, though many people say they still watch. However, they did a strange thing as they stepped out of the Universe, something that to this day baffles metaphysics students everywhere -- they invented Time. Perhaps it was merely a byproduct of their leaving, or perhaps it was something they did purposefully, but when they withdrew, Time started. However, their minion races were too busy making brutal war upon each other to make note of the odd anomaly.

Often referred to as the Time of Chaos, their war spanned millions of years. Only when they began to see the purity and unity of the One Universe fracture did they realize the extent of what they had done. The war was paused as they rushed to patch up what they were ostensibly fighting over, and in the end they met and agreed to carve up the One Universe between themselves. The survivors at that point numbered perhaps as low as 15 and as high as 25, but their next act would change the fate of the One Universe forever. They gathered their powers and partitioned the One Universe into the megaverse that we know today, creating dimensions and entire universes. Each one of the infinite universes would have a tiny piece of the primordial soup that was the One Universe. It is difficult for us to comprehend, but they divided a single powerful infinity into an infinite number of lesser powered infinities that we call universes. They would be separated except to the Old Ones themselves and each would hold to their own universes. This is where the error in believing they created the megaverse arises, because they were born into the One Universe and then divided it up themselves. They never created anything, only changed what was there. However, this act of unimaginable power simply goes to how titanically immense they were.

This arrangement worked well and while periodic celestial wars would break out, in general it was an arrangement suitable to them all. Suitable to all except those who were under them, of course. They were irresistable, quite literally to those who were created as their own minion races, for they were in harmony with the megaverse. Of those believed originally created and still around in some form include the Elder Dragons, Elves, Angels, Titans, and Unicorns. All served the whims and needs of the Old Ones, but at this time magic literally did not exist and so there was no recourse as they were totally in the thrall of their masters. The stories do not do them justice, friends. They were cruel in such an amoral, alien way so as to be totally unknowable to us today, for which I am thankful. They were not evil in the sense that we humans use the word, but rather had no morality at all, much less any other human traits. They were entirely alien and would often do things that would confuse us even today simply because they wished it. Selfish, petty, vindictive, tyrannical, sadistic, and hundreds of other words are used to describe them, but none can do them proper justice. Worst of all, they made their minion races feel like their were nothing, and indeed that is what they were to them. They created the races and could have destroyed them just as easily. The closest analogy we have in our own world are the truly dangerously insane, the psychotic and sociopathic. But that is nothing compared to the Old Ones.

Things may have progressed like this forever were it not for the Old One Who Must Not Be Named. We call him that because we are literally incapable of ever knowing his name, a restriction "programmed" into us by the Old Ones. We are not clear on the details, but somehow he managed to absorb a few drops of the One Universe into himself and had gained a clear upper hand after some time had passed, and soon he started his war to end all wars. This time the others banded together out of fear for their own survival, and their numbers in the war dropped to approximately 8-10. The sacrifices of the others were not in vain, however, as each of their deaths weakened the protagonist mightily. What we have pieced together is that the Old Ones are a co-dependent species and that when one dies it weakens the rest. If this is true, it is a horrifying thought considering how powerful the remaining ones were. Finally, they drove into him deeply their mighty eternal weapons and a few drops of the One Universe itself spilled from his dead form. His territories were split up and the remaining Old Ones each ensured that their Unnamed brother was decidedly not coming back.

Of the last drops of the One Universe they took into themselves, and it was there that magic was truly born.

The Time of Magic & The Fall of the Old Ones

Because we are unsure of their exact natures before this occurred, it is difficult for us to postulate what happened when they did this. However, what is clear is that they did in fact change very fundamentally, for what they started doing around this time had not been demonstrated before and was too valuable to go unused, though many scholars point out that the Unnamed Old One held it within himself and did nothing with it. This is a curious paradox that we cannot solve, but it is of little practical concern for the purposes of this document. For practical purposes, the Old Ones indeed became the sources for magic, thus beginning the Time of Magic.

There is a curious division in our theory on this, however. A fair number of us subscribe to the notion that the Old Ones were the source of magic and that it started with them, emanating from them even as they mastered it themselves. However, a growing number of our group believes that magic existed prior to this, and indeed existed since the very dawn of Time itself when the Progenitors left the One Universe. They feel that there was no adequate vessel in which the magic could express itself and work through, or more darkly that the Progenitors withheld magic from their minion races out of fear. This latter is very plausible, as we will see, but the essential point is that after consuming the last drops of the One Universe, the Old Ones began to radiate magic, whether they created it or it was a byproduct of their consumption. The Time of Magic lasted about a quarter of a million years, and those who served them were kept in firm bondage by both their thralldom and now the new force of magic.

It is generally understood that just prior to the genesis of the Time of Magic, there were still a number of other minion races of the Progenitors around, mostly withdrawn into pocket dimensions and secret worlds across the megaverse. When magic entered the megaverse, they were the first to discern what truly happened, and they were horrified. Their own survival was at stake, and that was perhaps the only thing that would have motivated such mighty entities, not used to having their survival challenged at all. When the first of their number fell easily to the Old Ones, they began to realize how dire their situation truly was. In response, the elder minion races pooled their wisdom and knowledge and learned magic for themselves, though nowhere to the degree of domination the Old Ones wielded. With that knowledge in hand and other secrets stolen from the Old Ones, they approached the lesser minion races such as the dragons, elves, angels, and so forth, and gifted them with knowledge of magic and showed them how to manipulate it. Back then the magic was strong enough and raw enough that anyone could work it if they knew how to manipulate it. There is a very small minority that ascribes very altruistic motivations to the elder minion races for teaching the secrets of magic, but most of us see the truth -- it was sheer self-preservation. The lesser minion races were mere tools of the elder minion races, forging them with knowledge of magic to war against the Old Ones themselves, in essence creating a megaversal uprising. The elder minion races faded once more into the background and we suspect they still exist out in the most unreachable areas of the megaverse still, living in quiet xenophobia.

By this time, the Old Ones had started to bicker amongst themselves once more, coveting their rivals' mastery of an area of magic. Little wonder they did not see what was coming. Magic was the missing link in the hearts and minds of the lesser minion races, and with that last piece of the puzzle in place, they found they could resist the Old Ones. Few minion races sided with the Old Ones and the War of Ages was on, a true and literal battle for the destiny of the megaverse. If the lesser minion races were to fail, it was likely that they would all be destroyed. Few mortal minds can endure the pure suffering and terror of the War of Ages. We have lost many of our finest students when they scryed on a battle during that time and were within moments turned entirely insane. I can only imagine that the battle at the end of Time will be just as terrifying. Entire worlds and whole races were lost forever, universes set aflame with dark laughter, a true pandimensional war. It was also the time of the most intense and strongest of magics, those also lost to us, though I am not sad to see many of them go. Forms of magic we cannot even comprehend, artifacts of such magnitude and power that even the gods would fear them, and creatures shaped of the Void itself, of dark Shadowflame and powerful entities neither alive nor dead. I pray that you never know the details of that horrific time.

Now we return to that little world I mentioned earlier named Palladium. In its ancient past, it too was once like our current Earth, seething with magic and raw energy, only more so due to the presence of the Old Ones themselves. For what reason we cannot fathom but they came together and made a stand on that world, presumably feeling that the intense magical energy would aid them. They drew forth their remaining minions, while the rebellious lesser minions drew together their allies and they all came to a clash at Palladium. However, this time the lesser minion races had a few tricks up their sleeve. The world of Palladium, as intensely magical as it was, made a perfect point in the megaverse to enact a ritual to destroy the Old Ones themselves. It was three wily individuals who enacted the final ritual -- the angel Lokum, the dragon Kym-nark-mar and the elf Lictalon. Not surprisingly, the Old Ones were not destroyed, but the ritual ended up forcing them into a mystical slumber, locking them in a pocket dimension and sealing it off from any access. The megaverse was in shambles, but the War of Ages was won. Its cost was high, however, as whole races we never knew died in sacrifice and most of the truly powerful races contributed to the ritual spell effort and were spent or killed in the process. Ironically, it was mostly the frontline groups who survived the whole ordeal.

The Age of Twilight

With the elder minion races withdrawn to their safety once more, the lesser minion races found for the first time that they were free of the Old Ones. Naturally, the first thing they did was covet the megaversal territories of their masters, now locked away and slumbering. While they dispersed into the megaverse, a curious thing was noted. The ancient and raw energies of magic were not quite as powerful as they once were. Prolonged study later indicated that in fact the magical energy was actively dwindling. After wielding cosmological magic in the War of Ages, it was shocking and somewhat scary for the lesser minion races to begin to lose access to their higher magics. They began to study the problem intently while at the same time blaming each other for the phenomenon. As entire webs of ley line energy dissipaited, surviving mages started to take the blame for it, as the general populace assumed that it must be the mages that were hoarding all of the magical energy. Shortly thereafter, lacking evidence to the contrary, the first war against the mages started, which was in truth more of a grand persecution cunningly staged. Ironically, it was the mages that had discovered the horrifying truth at the heart of the problem.

The Old Ones did not simply begin to learn and use magic, but they literally radiated it. They became the source of magic, and their multidimensional forms allowed that energy to spread across the megaverse swiftly, creating the channels of ley lines that we all know so well. Mages soon discovered that magical energy could not be created or destroyed, but only changed in its form. The Old Ones transcended this simple magical law, however, and managed to both create and destroy it quite at will, it seemed. With them established in their nondimensional prison, the magical energy was bleeding off into the ambient environment. So it became obvious to the lesser minion races that they needed the Old Ones for magical energy, and yet at the same time could not let them walk freely among the megaverse.

This paradox kept the megaverse confused for thousands of years. Magical energy continued to wane and mages started to thin out as they were still continually blamed for it. What ones that remained went into hiding and hoarded what magical energy they could find. For some time they were pariahs, and this was made even worse by the discovery that the ambient environment could be milked of its magical energy, but at the cost of the destruction of that environment. Such destruction was at the quantum level and was very thorough, enough that the general persecution of mages was inflamed to an all out war against them, as a tiny minority of them managed to wreak terrible destruction. This horrible defilement of the megaverse is a lost art to most modern magical races, and I for one am glad for it. The future of mages and of magic looked grim indeed.

Rise of the Demiurge

Who among us does not know of the Demiurge? Even the most simple initiate knows of his greatness. I feel foolish to review his feats, but I must for completion. No one knows what world he emerged from, nor specifically what race he was. It is said that he appears to each race as a paragon of their own race. It is not sufficient to say that he was the most powerful archmage the megaverse has known. He transcends such mere definitions as much as he ascended to become the Demiurge. Magic was nearly dead in the megaverse, and indeed was dead in many parts of the megaverse when the Demiurge was still mortal. It is said his thirst for knowledge and power was unquenchable, and for each mystery he solved, he created three more which he went about solving. He understood the true nature of reality like none of us have ever understood it before, and was the only individual among the whole of the lesser minion races to discern the true nature of the fading magic problem. He realized that he did not have the power to do what he needed to, nor could he in his mortal form.

The details of his ascension are understandably lost to us. From what few texts that we found would discuss it, he found what many call "the source of the universe itself" and then "took it within himself." Many popular theories maintain that he found a drop of the One Universe itself, but I refute that, for it would have destroyed his weak form. I propose that he was imbued with some unknown cosmological force that allowed him to transcend his mortal form and become the Demiurge. A curious historical note also involving the Demiurge is that there are no reports of the Cosmic Forge from the Three Galaxies until after the emergence of the Demiurge, leading many to wonder if the Forge is perhaps an avatar of the Demiurge himself. The nature of his transformation is unclear but his subsequent defeat of the Elder Dragon Kyrnia'fyl leads us to believe that he ascended above the greater minion races but not as high as the Old Ones. Because we have no reliable report on what he did or how he did it, we can only speculate eternally. However, the end result was that he became the Demiurge, quite possibly the most literal embodiment of magic in the megaverse with the Old Ones locked away.

The Demiurge correctly discerned that the megaverse needed the Old Ones for magic but that they could not be allowed to go free. With the Old Ones slumbering in their prison lost in between all dimensions, the Demiurge found their prison and enacted some form of ritual magic so powerful that we likely cannot comprehend it. To this day, we cannot be sure of what he did, but what we can be sure of is that whatever magics he used almost killed him, and the net result was the return of magical energy to the megaverse like a tsunami. We can only surmise that much as ritual magic takes from our selves, so too did the Demiurge's metamagicks take from him, almost too much. He retreated back into the mists of the megaverse to heal and to contemplate the consequences of his actions. Another most cynical theory is that the Demiurge was full of hubris and tried to destroy the Old Ones and failed, opening their prison door slightly in the process. This is patently absurd, but some of my students insist that I put it in here for completion.

Ascent of the Arcana & The Age of Magic

Prior to the Demiurge, magic was an unstructed, chaotic thing, determined by each individual. While some modern mages argue that these times were more flexible, I would reply that chaos cannot support itself indefinitely. The mages of the Age of Magic were gifted with the magical energy that the Demiurge arranged for them to have, and their persecution stopped almost literally overnight after the ancient channels of magic flowed again. Many mages looked for order among their brethren, but found little, discovering that each mage worked their magic in their own way. This was highly inefficient, not to mention disorderly, and if there is one thing the Demiurge encourages, it is Order. He pondered long and hard over this apparent problem, seeking to solve the chaotic state of mages all around the megaverse.

At length, the Demiurge came to the conclusion that a unified system of magic was necessary. Naturally, he was the one to create it. The trick was not to limit those who could access their own magic intuitively nor those who could access it structurally. This was another paradox, but as should be clear by now, the Demiurge was gifted at solving paradoxes. So he created the Arcana system of magic that the megaverse now uses. The Arcanum Minoris appealed to those mages that needed a systemic approach to magic and allowed them to specialize in their chosen fields. The Arcanum Majoris allowed those mages who used magic more intuitively and appealed to the generalists. The elegant simplicity of it allowed it to become very widespread, and while the specifics vary world to world, the basics remain similar enough that mages from entirely different worlds find common ground. Truly the Age of Magic had started.

We know that there are at least 15 schools of magic, because that is how many we have to work with. Tales tell of other schools that are lost to us, or too alien for us to use. The exact number of schools the Demiurge originally created is lost to the mists of time, but estimates range from 18 to 30. There are darker rumours that the Demiurge withheld some schools from the megaverse, but I can only imagine that if he did, there was good reason for it. After the horrors of the War of Ages, I can only believe that certain things are best left forgotten. In any event, he is not talking if he is withholding any schools, and the structure stands up even so many millennia later. The darkest of rumours maintains that the Demiurge set up the Arcana system of magic to specifically limit mortals from achieving what he did, either by nature of exclusion of important schools or by lack of complete information. Again, I cannot believe that would be the case, but I strive for a complete accounting and this is part of it, regardless of how it angers me.

The Demiurge as a force still exists in the megaverse somewhere. Very few have the audacity to hunt him down, or the courage. It is unclear if he retains some sense of his old mortal shell, or whether he has become as alien to us as we are to tiny ants scurrying beneath our feet. Is he a powerful individual, force of nature, or something we cannot comprehend? Would we want to be noticed by him?


While the megaverse has always been very magical since the Demiurge worked his will upon the prison of the Old Ones, events of late on my own home planet of Earth have been somewhat akin to throwing a match into a pool of gasoline. Earth was originally magically active in its distant past, and its first real civilization was that of Atlantis. The Atlanteans were masters of magic, having honed their arts over their long lives and sought to civilize and advance the world they called their own. For reasons that to this day are still unclear, the Atlanteans attempted to open a huge rift, and the results were cataclysmic. Terrible natural disasters ensued of epic proportions, millions of Atlanteans died or were lost to the giant rift, but most tragic of all, the continent of Atlantis that they called home literally disappeared. The few survivors collected themselves and dispersed across the world and ultimately the megaverse. It was a sad lesson in hubris and the price paid would not be limited to the Atlanteans solely.

The forces unleashed in their grand magic drained the Earth of its magical energy and quite surprisingly severed many key ley lines. The magical energy left on Earth waned over the next thousand years or so until it was at minimal levels. The Atlanteans, bitter and saddened by their actions, helped their fellow humans establish working civilizations in advisory positions and by the time the Greeks and the Chinese were established, had mostly withdrawn from Earth in some form of collective penance for their actions. The glorious magical past of Earth was forgotten and ultimately artifacts that were once of significant magical importance became just pieces of old junk. While early civilizations had their mystics and their oracles, only a precious few were ever truly gifted and they were severely limited by the virtually nonexistent magical energy left on Earth. This was a backhanded gift as well as a curse, however, for no supernatural creatures could truly exist for long periods of time on Earth, which meant the planet was relatively free of the scourges of supernatural horrors.

Rome was entirely free of any true magic, but after its fall and the First Dark Ages fell over Europe, a curious thing happened. In Britain, which had kept the ancient ways along with the Goths of what is now Germany, magical energy returned for a brief period of time. This was totally out of character with what we know of the time, but many magic historians attribute this to the mythical King Arthur. While I remain unconvinced, my collegues believe that a powerful magical creature in the form of the Lady of the Lake was awakened by the wizard Merlin, and gave the famed weapon Excaliber to young Arthur to unite Britain behind him, which he ultimately did. To hear the tales, it was a glorious time of shining hope in the middle of the Dark Ages, but ultimately the kingdom fell to corruption and human frailty. If the tales are to be believed, Arthur was mortally wounded but not killed, and was taken to the mystical isle of Avalon where he would remain until Britain needed him the most. This institution has sent out a number of investigators to try to locate Avalon but have yet to find it, and no evidence of the Lady of the Lake or any caves where Merlin was trapped are to be found. Whether or not this is true in literal history, the point remains that somehow Britain had accessed magical energy when it had no real ability to do so. The mystery remains to this day.

By the late Middle Ages, the world had pulled itself back out of the darkness and was steadily on course once more. In the dark and craggy country of Transylvania, reports from experienced witnesses described creatures that are most certainly vampires. Having received no reports before that, it is assumed that they emerged around 1300 AD, but the exact date will remain unknown for obvious reasons. This was in fact an attempt by an elder thing to enter our world. It created for itself a small army of vampires and presumably was to enter when certain cosmological events took place and it had enough followers. Quietly, bands of heroes entered Transylvania and started to exterminate the vampires, and ultimately drove most of them to flee, to be hunted down and killed individually. Most curiously, however, is the fact that at the time, we have discerned that there was nowhere near the amount of magical energy it would have needed to survive on Earth. We are interested to discover why it continued to attempt the entry, as it must have had something prepared, since those creatures do very little on whim. In any case, the attempt was denied and once more the world returned to mundanity as the Renaissance started.

It was not until the early part of the 20th century that Earth had to deal once more with a supernatural level. During the First World War, a large part of the fighting was done in the trenches, and those trenches proved to be the most lethal aspect of the war. While kept extremely quiet at the time, there were reports out of the Sommes and Ypres that there were an incredible number of ghost sightings. More disturbing than this were top secret documents that reported occasional incidents of dead bodies getting back up and attacking any living thing near it. The veracity of these events cannot be tested, obviously, but all kinds of strangeness was reported but kept under tight wraps by the countries involved. We have a theory on why this was. The trenches and the grounds between the two warring sides saw an incredible amount of death in a relatively short time. We theorize that the opposing trench networks formed ley lines, very weak by our standards but quite powerful by theirs. If an old map of the trenches can be found, you will see that they stretched from coast to coast, and look eerily like the current lines in Europe today. This would account for the so-called "battlefield haze" at dawn and dusk, as the lines were too weak to be seen but strong enough to make their presence known. We theorize that they emerged due to the constant death of so many people in such a concentrated area, and that they were strong enough to sustain the spirits of the dead for brief periods after their deaths. As the war ended, the energy bled off as the trenches were no longer used, but it is safe to suppose that they never quite disappeared entirely.

Naturally, it is World War II that we turn our attention to. It changed the entire world and left virtually nowhere untouched by its effects. Excluding the amazing technological advances that were made, there were two primary significant magical historical events that occurred during the war. The first was Hitler's obsessive quest for all things occult. He sent out his troops to suspected occult sites and to confiscate suspected occult artifacts. How successful he was in this quest we will likely never know, but it is known that an awful lot of magical artifacts disappeared around that time, be they taken by the Nazis or hidden by their proper owners. However, it was the second event that changed the very destiny of mankind, and that was, of course, the detonation of two atomic bombs in Japan. Nuclear forces do not just simply affect particles, but they affect reality as well. When those bombs were dropped, with so many people dying at once and their effects on reality, the old lines of magical energy flared slightly. Magical energy came down them for the first time in millennia and this time it stayed. Still compared to what we have today, it was virtually nothing, but it was a lot for that era and it was global.

After World War II, further nuclear testing was done and each test added a little more energy to the ancient network. Starting in 1945, occultists actually were able to work their field tangibly because of the revival of the ley lines, and they studied them and the phenomenon that followed them. An increase in supernatural reports started after the war too, because there was now sufficient energy to sustain many supernatual creatures. Many occultists started a quiet war with these creatures, to banish them back to whence they came. It was not until the late 20th century that a man named Victor Lazlo came forward into the occult underground community and presented not only a unified theory about all supernatural events, but evidence that certain psychic and magical phenomenon were in fact accurate. He organized the largest occult group in the history of Earth at the time and sent them out to study and record all the incidents they could, and started a literal library of the occult. He was responsible for a great deal of knowledge that we today take for granted, and it would be fair to say that he was a truly visionary pioneer of his time, perhaps too ahead of his time. By all accounts, he disappeared in and around the dawn of the 21st century, so we are unsure of his whereabouts. My collegue Plato on the Council of Learning claims Erin Tarn found him in the New German Republic, but I have my serious doubts about that, as much as I respect them both.

Much of the 21st century was technologically a golden age, but there were net benefits for the occult as well. While we colonized space and under the oceans, evidence also came forward in a distinctly scientific way about the emergence of psychic powers that were able to be tested and repeatedly proven. This revelation among all others rocked the society of the time, but it was accepted with fairly good grace and minimal fear, a testament to their tolerance. "Legitimate" scientists soon began to question the magical theories, for if they had been wrong about psychic powers, then could they also be wrong about magical energies that existed outside of conventional physics? We can only wonder what may have emerged from that, for as those questions were being asked, the world was falling apart. Chaos ruled the world as the empires went to war with each other with the full might of their high-tech armies and new psychics. Surely it was our own mortal version of the War of Ages, and it is perhaps a miracle that any world was left after they were finished.

Finish they did. A global nuclear exchange took place, and in amongst all the death and total destruction, the ley lines flared open with an unprecedented power, managing even to reattach severed lines and create brand new ones, surpassing even the magical energy at the time of the Atlanteans. Rifts tore open at the intersections of the new powerful ley lines and released untold horrors into the world at the same time, which killed more people and thus added more fuel to the flame. Ironically, the entire time during the cataclysm, some of the most fundamental questions that humanity had always asked were answered in the most brutal of ways. We are not alone in the universe, there are an infinite number of other dimensions, and we are not as advanced as we once believed we were. During the aftermath, when humanity entered the Second Dark Ages, psychics were more valuable than gold for their abilities to sense the supernatural, but it was also discovered that ancient texts of magic and ancient artifacts flared back to life. The lost art of magic was returned all at once and extremely decisively to Earth. The early mages were a courageous and hardy breed, having to relearn all of the basic elements to spellcasting, and many went insane or burned out from the efforts. The ones that succeeded went on to form cabals of initiates, and thus started the traditions of magic that we maintain to this day. In addition to this, many legendary Atlanteans sensed what was happening on their home planet and returned, and some of these kind souls took on students to establish magic once more, teaching the Demiurge's Arcana systems to them. It took some time for everything to fall into place, but humanity was cowering in the darkness of the underground caves and facilities to guard against the alien horrors and environmental damage that existed on Earth. Many found psychics to be more productive and useful than most mages in those early days, and as such mages were generally left to their own devices.

By the time humanity began to crawl out from their hiding places, they were just stunned at how quickly Nature recovered itself, surpassing even the most optimistic of views. Many believe that this was simply because Nature was more hardy than we humans give it credit for, but I for one believe that being such a magic rich environment helped the healing process along a great deal. In any case, humans emerged and started their lives over again on the surface, and mages were gaining more experience and practical use of their skills and started to aid life more directly and usefully. They were still subject to a sort of low key fear unlike the psychics because their powers came from an unknown source. It wasn't until the Federation of Magic came into being that there was a community specifically for mages. However, the Federation leader, Dunscon, was slightly insane himself, and whipped up the mages into believing an attack was imminent from the nearby settlement of Chi-Town. So the mages launched a pre-emptive attack and inflicted a lot of damage before being forced to retreat, but the fledgling Coalition chased them and hunted them down methodically and vengefully. This was the catalyst for the Coalition's policies of mage persecution that continues to this day, and while not the sole cause, certainly the Federation had a lot to do with it.

Finally, it would be impossible to take this brief history seriously if I did not mention the small kingdom of Tolkeen. Prior to events of late, Tolkeen was a medium-sized kingdom that was thriving in its own right, but that happened to have the misfortune of existing very close to Coalition borders. Skirmishes were common, but it rarely went beyond that. Lately, however, the Coalition has declared open war on Tolkeen, as their existence offends the mighty Coalition. Originally, Tolkeen was fairly tolerant and a generally nice place to be in, but since war was declared, they have geared up for it, and attracted all sorts of strange allies. They seem to be adhering to the policy of, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." This is unfortunate because some of Tolkeen's new allies are in fact quite as bad as the Coalition would like to paint them. With the opening volleys of the war taking place as I write this, after some years of a cold war between them, it seems likely that a titanic confrontation is due. This conflict will likely eclipse even the Third World War, because all the technological and magical weapons of warfare will be brought to bear on the other side. I cannot foresee how anyone can emerge from this a winner, and I think any victory for either side will be at such a high cost as to make it irrelevant. Magic has never been about going to war, but rather enriching yourself and applying enlightened studies in the hopes of improving your soul and understanding of reality. Technology is not evil, but is simply another path to this end. They do not have to exist mutually exclusive, or at odds. But I fear that neither side will understand this until it is too late, and I suspect that the Coalition-Tolkeen war will become the most tragic example of hubris in human memory.

As for the future, it is dark and hard to see. This is a bad omen, for it will either mean the end of my life, or the end of the future. I hope for the sake of my species that it is the former. I am travelling to Tolkeen to plead with the Council of Twelve to cease this war and not to repeat history.

Note: Aurelanis was reportedly killed en route to Tolkeen by a CS attack. However, as no body was found, the Council of Learning remains optimistic that he survives despite the pessamistic ending of the history.

The Theory of Magic

The Nature of Magical Energy

Magical energy originated when the Old Ones started to radiate it at the start of the Time of Magic. As such, it is a relative latecomer to Creation compared to other energy variants. To attempt to give it any scientific explanation is hazy at best, but it appears to be a kind of quantum energy, one that affects the physical universe. Through certain incarnations and gestures, one can channel this quantum-level energy and alter the physical universe in some way. This is, naturally, incredibly simplified, and the exact nature of magical energy has been debated since it has existed.

The fact is that a webwork of energy exists and only select individuals can sense it and tap into it. While a host of races and beings can use magic naturally, we will only deal with the mage in this file. The mage is a being who can inherently hold some magical energy in himself, and by structured release can affect the environment around him. Incorrectly referred to as Potential Psychic Energy (PPE) on Rifts Earth, it is the source of power for the mage and what fuels the spells he casts. Curiously, PPE seems somehow tied with life energy -- that is, the presence of life. Barren moons in the void of space tend to have incredibly weak and sometimes no web of magical energy, whereas a thriving, lush planet like Rifts Earth is bathed in it. Why this is no one truly understands but some have suggested the link between life and PPE is a sympathetic relationship, that individually they are sufficient but together they are even stronger.

This relationship between life and PPE is even more curious in light of the fact of the flare of PPE upon the death of a creature. The doubling of PPE at the moment of death is one of the more unusual aspects of the universe and many feel that the departing soul recites some sort of inherently-known incantation to make the transition to the Lands of the Dead. Yet it may simply be that upon the death of a creature, it merely sheds the life energy it needed while alive but no longer needs now, and that shedding takes the form of conversion into PPE. Who knows? Theories are as plentiful as dying people.

Ley Lines

No one is very sure why it is that magical energy arranges itself into almost literal rivers of energy. Some have likened them to being the veins of the Megaverse itself, while others tend to picture it as a sort of universal transportation system. No one is sure why natural attractions form between certain worlds and universes, but there is a cosmic tide and almost river system of flowing magical energy. In some areas, artificially created conduits channel magical energy to places where it would not normally be and can be though of as canals rather than natural rivers of magical energy. Down a scale to the world level, it further subdivides into finer networks of rivers of magical energy, attracted to places where it naturally attunes to, conventionally known as nexus points but alternately known as nodes, dragon wheels, cairns, and so forth.

Interestingly enough, stars are major sources of magical energy. Suns tend to be intra-system node points for ley lines, but study has revealed that the energy flows outward from them and not into them. Many mages believe that at the center of each star is a small pinpoint which intersects with the nondimensional space where the Old Ones are being held. Attempts to phase "into" a star inevitably fail, although spellcasters have discovered that proximity to the star aids their magic by a great margin. This may also explain why solar and lunar events provide for erratic ley line activity as the bodies of heaven arrange themselves into periodically convenient positions for a greater flow of magical energy.

Ley lines are not bound by conventional physics, but it does seem to have something of an effect. In areas of intense gravity, such as pulsars and other "warped" stars, ley line energy tends to pool to a much greater degree. As might perhaps be expected, black holes inhale magical energy and they are as much a nuisance to spellcasting as they are a hazard to navigation. Ley lines tend to follow loosely the demands of gravity, but they have been known to do extremely strange things. There is nothing preventing the lines from running right through a planetary core, underwater, on a dead planet, through solid objects, and so forth. This said, on the planetary scale the lines tend to form a web of fairly consistent lines based on all of the magical hotspots around the planet. What this means is that more often than not the lines will arc with the curve of the planet.

One of the most curious things about the ley lines are reports of the formation of very weak lines around areas of extreme trauma and emotional outpouring. During World War I, this happened in the trenches of the French and German lines, because so much death and horror had been suffered and their angst and pathos poured out in an ambient form and pooled along the lines of the trenches. Obviously, it takes a great deal of output to create even the weakest of ley lines this way, but just as lines pool around "holy sites" they also follow psychic hotspots, and lots of death is the most vivid psychic imprint you can have. Magic exists in the Megaverse to create ley lines artificially (the so-called "canals of magic" rather than the more natural "rivers") but that is a complex ritual whereas this spontaneous creation of lines is much more accidental. It can occur that these weak lines never attach to any others and just eventually bleed off into the environment, but it has been known that these weak lines attach to a stronger ley line and become a permanent addition to the webwork.


Major ley lines as a rule don't tend to cross each other. However, strong sites of magic or psychic energy can act as something of a pool for magical energy, and a number of major lines can cross at these points. These points are called Nexus Sites, for the intersection of any number of magical ley lines can result in a curious phenomenon, that of the rifts. A rift is a tear in reality brought about by the combination of a number of ley lines crossing at a nexus point. Such pooling of magical energy quite often stresses the Reality of the environment around the nexus point, proportional to the ley lines that cross. Thus, if two small ley lines crossed in a remote location, a small rift (if any) would appear. However, an area like Stonehenge that has a number of very strong major lines crossing it and a pile of minor ones tends to get a lot of rifts. Frequency of rift openings is also determined by the relative strength of the nexus point -- if a strong magical nexus exists, the chance to split Reality occurs more often. Rifts are, lest it need to be said, unnatural things. Sources speak of historical societies that had rituals to keep a place magical but not have the danger of rifts popping open constantly.

There is a lively debate on the nature of the rifts. Most specifically about the fact that they very rarely open to an obviously hostile environment. While other planets with strange atmospheres are common, rifts never seem to open to undersea trenches or the middle of a star or to airless voids like space. Shifters state that such environments have to be targeted, but that does not explain why the rifts do not open to these environments naturally. Theories now explore whether both sides of the rift require a nexus point, or perhaps if the close connection between life energy and PPE affects the creation of nexus points in places where only sentient beings can survive. There have been times when rifts opened to hostile environments, but only a small handful were natural, while the rest were tragic accidents. This continues to be explored.

Hilariously enough, it is the Coalition that has expended the most effort to understand the rifts. Their Rifts Control Study Group has compiled a database on rift manifestations and related events that is perhaps bar none one of the most complete records of ley line and nexus manifestations on Rifts Earth. Mages feel little need to objectively study rifts and ley lines because they use them so naturally and what studies they do make tend to be of the "walk into one and see what happens" variety, secure that their powers will aid them. The RCSG are a bunch of scientists and hired military muscle and as such are much more careful and thorough about it. So here is a brief list of RCSG protocols for anomalies (rifts). (Editor's Note: The following is based on a QiR post that Braden Campbell did, and he graciously granted me permission to use it. I took some liberties with it but the raw data is all his.)

RCSG Anomaly Categorization

SIZE: Reports and study logs of all anomalies MUST include a Size Code. Please refer to the following table:

Level 1: The reported anomaly has a diameter of up to, and including, 5 feet.
Level 2: The reported anomaly has a diameter between 5 feet, and 10 feet.
Level 3: The reported anomaly has a diameter between 10 feet, and 20 feet.
Level 4: The reported anomaly has a diameter between 20 feet, and 40 feet.
Level 5: The reported anomaly has a diameter up to, and including 100 feet.
Level 6: The reported anomaly has a diameter up to, and including 300 feet.
Level 7: The reported anomaly has a diameter greater than 300 feet.
Level 8: Special Alert - the reported anomaly has a diameter of greater than one mile or more.

TYPE: Once the size of the anomaly has been determined, the exact nature of the disturbance must be identified. The following is a listing of all dimensional disturbances encountered by, or learned of by, Coalition forces.

TYPE ONE: "Free-Floating Pinhole". This is a small (level 1) anomaly. It derives it's name from the fact that it is found away from Lines and Nexuses. Its small size prohibits the entrance of physical otherworldly beings, but has been reported to manifest all catalogued entities.

TYPE TWO: "Fixed Pinhole". Shares all attributes of a Type One disturbance, but is found only on a Nexus.

TYPE THREE: "Dimensional Portal". This is what you will hear laymen refer to as a Rift. It is by far, the most common disturbance you will encounter. A Type Three may be any size but are usually found occuring in Level 3 and greater. The focus (wherever the portal leads to) can shift rapidly, but is usually documented to close first, then flare to life again with a new destination. A dimensional portal WILL allow for the manifestation of both greater and lesser physical beings. Extreme caution is advised.

TYPE FOUR: "Anchored Portal". The Type Four is realatively rare in nature. It occurs when a Type Three disturbance is surrounded by a physical structure, without which it is doubtful that the portal would remain open. Anchored Portals rarely shift focus, and may remain open for hundreds of years. The Devil's Gate, site of the RCSG Headquarters, is the oldest recorded Type Four. It has been in existence since the Cataclysm (300 years or so), and has remained attuned to the same focus for the past 75 years. Documents from the NGR also indicate the presence of a Type Four housed in "an enormous tree". The Anchored Portal offers us the greatest hope at the present time for fulfilling our mission. Current thinking believes that if the surrounding structure is removed, or destroyed, the portal will collapse forever. More study is clearly needed.

TYPE FIVE: "Shared Space Area". We would prefer the use of this term over the vernacular D-Zone. Shared Space occurs when two dimensions overlap, yet primary geography remains the same. A Type Five may contain one or more Type Three anomalies. Shared Space has a higher rate of Related Events than any other type. Type Fives are usually so large in area they do not need a size classification. Areas like the Devil's Sea (and, so say agents in the NGR, the whole of the Mediterranean Sea) are clear examples of Shared Space.

TYPE SIX: "Cross-Rip". Easily the most destructive of all anomaly types. The Type Six was for many years believed to be a Type Three disturbance whose focus led to the surface of a star or pulsar. This theory was further advanced in 72 PA when the Orbital Study Group (now defunct) using the Pre-Rifts 29" reflective telescope in Iron Heart, conclusively proved that Ley Lines occur on the Moon. Exactly what a Cross-Rip is remains unknown. What we have gathered tells us that they manifest as a Type Three, then quickly expand to several times their original size, and collapse. The manner in which they collapse, however, releases vast quantities of radioactive particles, extreme levels of gamma and X-rays, and has a blast radius of several miles, with an estimated kilotonnage of 75. There have been no reported Cross-Rips since the instigation of the PA calander. The last documented Cross-Rip dates from 1909.

TYPE SEVEN: "Einstein-Rosen Bridge". First encountered Aug. 12, 105 PA, the Type Seven carries a Priority One Threat Value. The Einstein-Rosen Bridge was not known to have existed prior to its first encounter. The Type Seven is the only dimensional anomaly known to be created by mechanical means. The Einstein-Rosen Bridge is used by an extra-dimensional power known only as "The Hegemony". It appears as a swirling pool of red-shifted light, and carries no Related Events. It's size level, when encountered was Level 3, but could go as high as 7. Our current thinking believes that the only way to travel to parallel versions of the same dimension is via one of these bridges. All further documentation concerning, or related to, the Hegemony is classified. Any contact with a Type Seven anomaly must be reported imediately to CS High Command.

TYPE EIGHT: "Temporal Conduit". Size level 3 through 5 (reported), the Type Eight is different in appearance from all other disturbances. It is not known to carry Related Events, other than Counter-Clockwise Syndrome. A Temporal Conduit appears as a grey vortex, and is believed to bridge time, instead of space. The Dinosaur Swamp in the South East is certainly home to one or more Type Eights. Investigation into these areas is pending.

TYPE NINE: "Dimensional-Temporal Portal Conduit". This anomaly has features of both Type Three and Type Eight anomalies. Transportation in both time and space is possible.

RELATED EVENTS: These are disturbances found near anomalous areas, and most often occur in conjunction with their opening or collapse. They can prove most damaging to men and materiel. Caution is advised.

BLINDING FLASH: Almost always reported with the opening and collapse of a disturbance. The Flash can carry a power equal to one-half million candlepower. As well, UV and infrared waves are thrown off, greatly aiding in the identification of disturbances from the air. Harmful levels of radiation are only known to occur with a Type Six.

GRAVITY WAVE DISTORTION: Sometimes mistaken as an earthquake, GWD can cause extensive damage to fortifications, but never to Anchors (see Type Four). Distortions range in power from 3 to 7 on the Richter Scale in direct proportion to the size level of the anomaly.

COUNTER-CLOCK SYNDROME: Can occur at any type, but most often (so it is thought) at Type Eight. CCS manifests itself as a slowing down of, or acceleration of time, affecting all creatures in close proximity to the anomaly, but never anything emerging through the anomaly. The reason for this remains unclear. Another Event, related to CCS, is that of Missing Time; when observers have witnessed Blinding Flash, then discovered that several minutes have passed for which they cannot account. The longest record of Missing Time is 2 hours, and 27 minutes.

STRONG WINDS: Unnatural wind patterns arising suddenly are a key indication that a dimensional aberration is about to occur. We know that they rise to a crescendo mere seconds before the appature appears, then vanish completely when it does. The highest recorded wind speed in relation to an anomaly was taken in 104 PA at the Mount Vernon observatory; winds suddenly jumped from a calm 5 MPH, quickly rising to 107 MPH. Winds returned to normal after a Type Three appeared on the nearby nexus. Damage to the town of Mount Vernon was extensive.

VACUUM: Occurs only during the collapse of a dimensional anomaly. When the disturbance folds in on itself and shrinks into nothingness, it pulls the surrounding atmosphere in with it, to a distance equal to twice the diameter of the original disturbance. All persons and objects pulled into the Event Horizon of a collapsing anomaly are either crushed, or pass through it to the focus. Vacuum is always followed by Blinding Flash and GWD.

EMP: One of the greatest dangers of close observation of rift formation is that of Electro-Magnetic Pulse. EMP is believed to only occur during the opening of a disturbance. All CS equipment for use by RCSG is heavily shielded against the negative effects of EMP.

Casting Theory

Casting theory is almost redundant because the actual execution of casting a spell is almost childishly simple. Cultivating the patience, immense willpower and concentration necessary to enact that casting theory is the hard part. A spell is basically a set of instructions, formed around various mystical components. To cast a spell, you follow the instructions and provide the necessary magical energy and hopefully the result you wished will occur. This is obviously highly simplified, but this is the basic procedure that has not changed since the dawn of magic. Sometimes the instructions can be incredibly complex, as in the case of higher level spells, or perhaps a complex ritual is needed to cast it. In essence, you channel your PPE into the spell effect.

In practicality, this results in an astonishing array of casting methods. Almost always there is some verbal component, either chanting power words in Enochian or shouting Words of Power that trigger primal reactions from Reality. Often there is a physical element, which can range from arcane arm gestures to a dance of some sort to self-mutilation. Some spellcasters trace runes or sigils in the air or in the ground, while others bang drums. One spellcaster would write out the spell on a piece of paper and burn it to cause it to take effect. There are as many casting methods as there are mages. The actual casting theory remains static, but the casting method is often defined by a mage early in his career. Which is a really pretty fancy way of saying it's up to the GM.

Mages as they gain experience begin to understand how much they can safely draw through them (maximum PPE) and those attempting to exceed this number can temporarily boost their powers, but at the cost of their sanity. The body of a mage is designed only to handle so much excess energy at a time and many mages have literally burned out from trying to handle too much magical energy in a really expressive pyrotechnic display. It should be noted that mages draw their PPE from the environment through various methods, including meditation and rest. This is the key difference between PPE and ISP, the psychics' source of powers. ISP is generated by their own will, mind and soul, whereas PPE is drawn from the ambient environment. This is why mages can increase their casting abilities at ley lines and nexuses whereas psychics cannot (much). Drawing from the environment while drained is a useful way to maintain a state of readiness and leaves only fatigue to be dealt with.

Spell Magic and Ritual Magic

Generally speaking, magic spells can be divided into two simple categories: spell magic and ritual magic.

What mages generally call spells refers to spell magic primarily. These are incantations that draw exclusively upon the mage's own PPE and require a very basic casting procedure. They are almost inevitably always instantaneous spells or very basic (albeit effective) spells that do precisely what they say they will. Most offensive spells, sensory spells and alteration spells fall into this category.

Once back during the Time of Magic, there were High Magicks that could be cast almost at will. However, as time progressed, these were mostly lost, and the ones that were left behind required a much more involved casting method. Ritual magic involves a great amount of time and effort and most certainly requires a large amount of stamina on the mage's part. Ritual magic is also very easily noticed on the grand scale of magical sensing as time progresses and more and more magical energy artifically pools around the mage to be expended during the final incantation. It is the drawing of a great amount of magical energy in one place that could not be safely held by the mage himself but can be stored temporarily in the environment assuming suitable preparation (circles primarily) to be used in a fairly near future time. If left too long, it will bleed back into the environment. Most curses, resurrection spells, prophecy spells and such are all ritualistic.

As to what specifically makes an incantation spell magic or ritual magic, that's a big judgement call. Some spells are obviously spell magic, such as lightning bolts or breathe without air spells. Some are obviously ritual magic, including resurrection spells and cloning spells. And yet some can be cast either way to lesser or greater effect, such as time travel spells and protection spells. The GM is encouraged to think logically about each spell used and classify it accordingly. Spell magic is pretty much as run by Rifts rules, but ritual magic should involve PE rolls for stamina and periodic magic checks to ensure the ritual is on course. Ritual magic is often more grand and permanent than spell magic, and should be treated with the similar form of gravity.

N9 Note: Unfinished material documentated in the RAW HTML:
- magical theory 101
- the arcana
- minoris, schools of magic (specialized mages, less flexible but more powerful)
- arts of majoris (generalist, regular Rifts mage but no as powerful as specialized)
- traits of mages
- intelligence
- horror factor (wary of powers of magic unlike psychics)
- tactics of mages (combat, non-combat)
- noteable mages

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