So with that in mind, here are the rules for magic in Voyage of Discovery.
Voyage of Discovery’s “rules” of magic: The magic system here is not intended to be 100% comprehensive. It is the goal of this book to provide a foundation for the game master and players’ vision of Terra, not one handed down to them to which they must conform. As such, much is left unexplained and unexplored. Still, there need to be a few “rules” to provide a feeling of consistency. The reason these are “rules” and not Rules indicates that, like all good rules, they are made to be broken. But when they are, it should mean something. Everyone should realize that what’s happening is not normal.
Rule #1: Magicians are born not made.
Magic is not science. It is not learned. Even with the arrival of tattoo magics from the New World, magic is something harnessed by man, not something he creates or controls. Some people have magical power, most don’t and no amount of wishing or hard work can change that.
Rule #2: Magic is an invisible force that alters the physical world.
Magic does not deal with spirits, invisible energies or the soul. It is a power that changes the physical world and violates the law of nature. So a new magical discipline focusing on intensifying or dampening sound would be fine.
One focused on telepathic communication would not. One is magic changing the physical world, the other is sharing invisible thoughts. So while a gift might allow a magician to silence everyone in the room so that only he could speak, it would not allow him to talk secretly with someone in the room, without them noticing anything was going on.
Rule #3: Magic has a cost.
Using a magical gift is never free or easy. It’s like being a human conductor for electricity. The toll it takes on the body is immense. In general this means the magician in question will suffer some physical or mental side effect during or after the use of her abilities.
Rule #4: Magic has consequences.
Just as magic takes a toll on the gifted, it has shaped the society of Terra irrevocably. One obvious and quite striking form this has taken is the role of women in society. Women serve in high government office, onboard naval vessels and even in the army, enjoying a status that would be unheard of on Earth.
While it is true that very few women have gifts, the presence of those that do has shaped the society around it, even for ordinary women. This means that a woman without magical gifts would also not be totally out of place in a military unit or on a naval vessel. The fact that some women wield raw power has shaped the perceptions of all women.
Similarly, the presence of healing gifts has changed the type of access people enjoy to advanced healing techniques. While this generally means that the rich are much better off, it has also served to reduce or eliminate plague in Terra’s history.
Similarly the presence of their new and powerful magics has shaped the relations between the explorers from the Island Kingdom and natives of the New World.Anytime a new magical discipline is introduced or discovered, think about how it will change those who encounter it, or who have encountered it.