Nights In Lankhmar
Sorcery is the craft of wizards, hedge witches, runeshapers and so forth. It’s the act of taking the raw material of reality and molding it into new shapes using willpower applied with skill and precision. Supplication is the act of asking a divine power (usually a god, sometimes a demon) for supernatural aid, with an (usually implied) offer of worship and servitude in return. Both acts are considered “magic.”
(Please refer to House Rules – Magic for the game-mechanic effects of the following notes.)
Sorcerers must learn spells in order to cast them. Sorcerers usually gain spells either by being taught by another sorcerer or by finding a spell book and learning the spell from there. Sorcerers can craft new spells but this takes time, concentration and (occasionally) expensive materials, so it is unusual for an adventuring sorcerer to have the time to add new creations to the magical corpus.
Spells arise from cultures. The mindset that frames a Vula spell is markedly different than the context surrounding a Bagroshi spell, and thus a sorcerer must have a familiarity with a culture before they can use that culture’s magic. The trappings of spells may differ from culture to culture — Babavich magic tends towards darkness and subtlety, while the Civerny write runes while casting — but no culture’s magic is inherently constrained, just different from everyone else’s.
A sorcerer must occasionally refresh their memory of their spells or risk forgetting some of the formulae. Typically the sorcerer reviews and annotates their spell books every few days to maintain their recollection. The more spells a sorcerer knows the more they risk getting particular spells conflated or confused and thus they need longer periods of study.
(The exception to this rule are Tanukin spells or ‘canticles’, which are not written down; instead the Tanukin spend time chanting and singing to refresh their memories. Same principle, just no tomes or scrolls to reference.)
Finally, casting spells can put strain on a sorcerer, most especially when the spellcraft doesn’t succeed. After prolonged periods of casting a sorcerer must rest in order to gather their energies again.
(old systems below — will remove)
There are four broad types of magic: Divine, Demonic, Wizardry and Sorcery. Of the three only Divine and Wizardry are commonly accessible to player characters. Sorcery is the more primitive magic common to the wilder Beastkin and Eldfolk, while Demonic is accessible to those who have soulbound themselves to a demon in return for demonic gifts.
For game-mechanic purposes (in-world name → game Arcane edge):
In other words, a priest may be able to call upon the power of the Divine according to the residents of Nehwon, but in game-mechanics terms may have the Arcane edge of ‘Miracles’ or ‘Ritualism’ (or both).
The Arcane edge Alchemy is considered its own distinct discipline: not entirely natural, not entirely divine and not entirely sorcerous. It is certainly not demonic and shares very little with wizardry apart from a reliance on formulae. (Many wizards will take up alchemy as a ‘hobby’, however, presumably because relying on formulae feels natural to them.) Most in Nehwon find very little difference between brewing up a sleeping potion or brewing up a fine mead (although the former is far rarer and more complicated, true).
Divine Magic – Some priests find they have a special connection to their god, so much so they can personally