Magic in the world of Anvar is a natural force, akin to gravity or the weather. It permeates both the world and its satellite realities, and depending on the nature of the area will either attune to a list or remain as “pure” arcane magic. That list will remain strong in the area, but other types will be present as well – it is exceptionally rare that an area within Anvar will attune so strongly that only one type of magic can be cast within it.
There is a distinct difference drawn between arcane magic and divine magic because of this. Divine magic is requested; a channeller will pray to a particular deity and, depending on whether they have properly followed that deity's tenets, will receive a boon in return. Arcane channellers (unless they are Artificers) will use willpower and certain words and gestures in order to draw upon the currents of magic around them to create spells. Artificers are the sole exception, as instead of words they use magical sigils and therefore do not need to speak in order to cast spells provided they have pre-prepared a glyph to use. However, as with other channellers, they do need to focus in order to cast most of their spells.
The arcane magic types are split between three channelling lists (how a mage chooses to channel their magic) and nine world lists (specific types of magic attuned to the world or its satellite realities).
Mana is a very theoretical term used mostly by those that study the relationship between such powers and how they interact with the physical form of the caster. In this regard, 'mana' represents an energy reserve much like any other that the body might harbor and dictates how much of an external power a body can channel before risking exhaustion, injury or being overwhelmed by that source.
It is well documented that practice in channelling, much like practice at swordplay or archery, will exercise the capabilities of the caster and will over time increase how much power they can draw. The amount of mana the body can store causes no physical change to the caster, but casters are very aware of their limitations. As they begin to exhaust their mana reserves, or 'mana pool', they will begin to feel nauseous and tired. To be completely drained of one's mana can exhibit symptoms such as trembling and a temperature, which can go on to manifesting as a full-blown sweating sickness if repeated too often.
Foci, Instruments and Ritual
Mana, much like most of the magics that utilise it, hold no physical form. No physical or alchemical stimuli seems to alter the means in which one interacts with their mana other than foci. Foci are items imbued with residual magic and somehow attuned to the individual that seems to allow the energies channelled to flow easier and safer through the body, essentially acting as a safety-net for the caster to assure that they do not cause themselves any harm whilst hastening their spell. They are rare in Anvar because in that they cannot be produced artificially or en mass, but have to be catered to the individual. Foci crafters will generally require an item with sentimentality and purpose of an item in order to easier attune it to being a focus. The crafting of foci is an an undisciplined art that has no real right or wrong method behind it, just patience and understanding of the arcane, and takes a lifetime to master. Most arcanists that are able to create foci come from families where these methods have been passed down from generation to generation.
Whilst there is no artificial stimuli that will improve the reserves of mana, there are schools of magic within the arcane that utilise an instrument through which a caster can channel. Artifice or Combat magic are examples of such casting. These disciplines teach the arcanist means of channelling magic using something other than themselves as a conduit, be it the staff they wield, the wand they point, or the rune that they draw. The items themselves are not inherently magical - a wand-wielder can pick up another wand and still be able to cast a spell - but over time such an instrument will have residual energy from that same caster.
Within the arcane, rituals are a practice of empowering and enacting a spell beyond the capabilities of a caster that involve a great deal of preparation and calculation in order to be pulled off correctly. Traditionally involving a circle of some description, rituals are a notoriously risky practice. The components of a ritual need to be meticulously chosen and placed in order to ensure that the power being drawn in can be evenly distributed, lest it will be unfettered and potentially disastrous and dangerous to those involved. Divine rituals are much easier in this regard, as the divine cannot cannot be inconstantly tapped into. Other than clarity of thought through prayer, however, there are very few accounts of divine 'rituals' working and the authenticity of those accounts are quite often arguable. A ritual of exorcism is an example of a ritual that will most likely see the gods bestowing their power unto the caster.
The examples of rituals that can be relied upon, taught, and reproduced without the same level of caution come in very specific schools of magic. Runecasting is one such example, which simply requires a ring of runes in a certain sequence in order to make impenetrable barriers, amongst over things. This is due to the specificity and dedication that such a school requires, as imbuing runes with power is no easy discipline to learn.
Across the world of Anvar many nations have their own established places of Arcane learning. Be it the famed High Colleges of Magic in Aspatria, the Military Academy of Alathane or the state funded Imperial Colleges in the Dwarven Empire.
Here those with talent in the magical arts hone their craft to ever increasing heights.
Attunement is the word used to describe a peculiarity of elvish physiology that makes them vulnerable to physical and mental changes when exposed to arcane magic.