Set in Amber: Magic

What magic is


    Any living thing has a magical and a physical part. The Soul is the interface of the two, where the physical commands and is commanded by the magical. To alter any of the parts is to alter the entire thing. All of creation is one grand movement of magic through physical things and back. Alternatively, all of creation is the movement of physical things, through will, which both requires and creates magic. Either way, once you have seen it, you cannot unsee it.

    Magic requires will to make it work and a soul through which to access the world of the flows; a golem has neither. A sentient computer from deep shadow might have will, but would have no soul. A plant has a soul, and magic changes on flowing through it, but it has no will. A human has both, and rare humans can have the talent and tenacity to learn.

Magic on a sheet

    Magic is built of statements and bonuses, like any other abilities. It typically takes 3 statements before the first bonus:

  • The first is always the basic ability, which will include the ability to see or interact with magical flows.
  • There is then probably the sort of training or bloodline or power that led to the ability. This may have been present for a long time, but was useless without the first statement.
  • After that, there is likely the sort of tool used: see below for possibilities.

  • After this, it is possible to interact with the magical world, even if one is not yet practiced, and bonuses can be bought. It is possible to buy bonuses in understanding before learning how to change things, or to have talents that alter this list.

Two main divisions


  • A specialist in magic is formally known in Altergon (and therefore in Amber) as a Mage of that magic.
  • Specialists in magic of any particular sort have a home advantage.
  • Sheetwise, this becomes the ability to buy narrow but powerful powers early, do things simply not possible to generalists, or pile their powers onto each other efficiently. It may also be the equivalent of a tie-breaker or a handicap, at GM discretion, but this is not always the case.
  • Specialists also do not have the problems that Generalists have related to magic, or have them very shallowly. Specialists are less likely to fall to magical addiction.
  • Specialists have access to a wider range of tools than generalists, but their tools work differently, often more as foci than wands. They are usually better with rituals.


  • Generalist users of magic are formally known as Sorcerors.
  • Sorcerors use tools to alter the flow of magic, acting to trigger and control it.
  • The rush of pure magic is an overdose to the soul, and highly addictive
  • Sorcerors can manipulate any sort of magic, but not necessarily without damage to themselves.
  • Sorcerors have to learn to use their power as a trigger. Typically, the first true magical act is to make a wand, which can be used for other matters.
  • Wands work on the scale of scalpel to fist, depending on the skill in making and the skill in wielding.
  • Staffs work on the scale of hand to battering ram, depending on the relevant skills.

Other notable things of Magic

Ritual Magic and Magical Beings

  • Magic can be constrained by red dye or things of gold.
  • Blood can be used for dye at a pinch, but tends to leak.
  • Leaking rituals feel better to the ritualist, but Altergonians avoid blood circles.
  • Rituals, once started, run themselves rather like jet turbines. They can be used to call up and even create spirits of any sort, to purify areas, to alter things in the long term, and to direct the flow of magic.
  • Altars can be used for rituals, and are usually but not always engraved somewhere. They use the power of the god to direct magic.
  • Some things cannot exist without ritual - elementals have no body, and no will but what a mage or sorceror gives them.
  • Other things count as human to all intents and purposes, as they have intellect, will and soul; kirin or kitsune, for example.


    There is, in myth, another method of magic possible:

  • The magician does not need tools.
  • Magicians express their will on the world around directly, by changing it.
  • To the magician, thought and magic are as easily united as thought and movement in a mortal.
  • Magicians are truly magical beings, different from gods but of that level of power. They think primarily in magical terms, with the physical world as an afterthought.
  • Magicians are addicted to what they use only in the same way physical people are addicted to being alive. In exactly the same way, in fact.
  • The last of the magicians died long, long ago, in the ancient years of Altergon.

Other Matters

Hedge Magics

  • Bards, sirens, witches, tiny talents. Not worth bothering with really
  • Oh, and alchemy
  • Possibly oracles. Maybe.


  • A whole other discussion; gods can manifest and move magic, but they are not covered in this document.