Nature Magic
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Basic Information

Although classified here as a school of magic, nature magic is more likely to be a theme applied to an individual's magic practice than being a school in its own right. Typically the "nature magician" will generate the same effects as anyone else, but expressed through trees and weasels … for example their crowd control spells might entangle their opponents in conjured vines or swamp them in mud rather than use overtly magical barriers, whilst their defence buffs are prone to give at least the appearance of bark-like skin and their attack spells take the form of flying thorns or insects. Summons are prone to be restricted to naturally available animals and other buffs are likely to involve taking on animal-like aspects (bear's strength, cat's grace, horse's wisdom … that sort of thing). Of course, this still works as a school if going with the thematic rather than effects based division of spells.

Nature magic may also crop up as a form of theurgy, usually in the hands of fantasy druids where "nature" is some kind of inchoate deity capable of channelling power to a servant (or having power channelled from it), or where the caster is a shaman-like ally or servant of "nature spirits" (genii locii perhaps?) or a devotee of some appropriate deity. In many systems this will not be much different from "secular" magic … but probably should be.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Up to the setting creator/GM mostly to define what this actually consists of … is it a thematic school (which should then not be compatible with the effects based ones), or just a "skin" on typical spell casting? Or is it "druidic" style theurgy?
  • Also worth deciding: is there some kind of "un-nature" magic, based on urbanization, blasphemies against natural law, technology, or some other opposite to nature?
  • Different kinds of nature magic can have different themes. A version based on a pastoral view of nature could well look and act different from the magic of predation, the scorching desert, disease and the cycle of life, or natural disasters.
    • You might also further subdivide nature magic into specialties or domains, such as just weather magic or just plant magic. There's historic and mythological precedent for it, such as the tempestarii.
    • If you get too narrow it may lose some of the appeal to players, but if you're just looking for a way to differentiate between members of a large cast of NPCs (or the rotating monster of the week), some ultra-narrow subtype of magic could do the trick.
      • You might even go so far as to give an NPC magic over a particular crop or plant species, if the source of the magic is the god of that plant. At this point, though, you're possibly looking at what is effectively a character with just one or two individual spells, rather than a varied practitioner of magical theory. Depending on your system, that might a multiclass character who just does a little magic on the side.
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