Corum - Extract, Magic

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Sample Extract: Magic Philosophy

What follows is an extract from the published Corum supplement - the philosophy of Magic.

This section describes the fundamental principles which underlie the various forms of magic present in the World of the Five Planes.

Note: This extract remains the property of Darcsyde Productions, and may not be reproduced, in part or in full, for any purpose, without prior consent.


A discourse on the basic principles underlying the wonders of Law and Chaos

The magic of the Five Planes is in sharp contrast to that of the Young Kingdoms. While some of the effects may be similar, the philosophy behind them is quite different. There are no elementals, and demons are rare and usually limited to the Greater breeds. Sorcerers summon Chaotic Effects or Chaos Creatures. The seers of Law Contrive, using techniques of a scientific nature, but strange enough to be considered magical by most.

Plane Of Chaos, Plane Of Law
Though Arkyn is banished from this plane it must be remembered that Arioch, who rules this and the adjoining four planes, is the weakest of the Sword Rulers. Arkyn still has some influence as long as his creations, the Nhadragh and the Vadhagh, exist upon the earth. Thus the balance of this plane is the same as the Young Kingdoms, though for very different reasons.

The Sorcery Of Chaos
Chaos, through the intervention of Arioch and his vassal gods, gives its devotees fantastic powers through the ability to call magic into being. Some Chaotic Effects are as simple as a gust of wind, others as complex as a thunderous storm of acid. All are "summoned" in much the same way that those more skilled in sorcery call upon Chaos Creatures, Demons, or even the Dukes of Hell themselves.
      A dark penalty is exacted for the constant use of Chaos. Practitioners run a high risk of becoming creatures of Chaos themselves, shambling mockeries of humans. Good standing with the Lords of Chaos has its price: they are quick to exploit the servitude of mortals.

The Science Of Law
Those surviving peoples who worship Law in the Five Planes do not summon otherworldly help, but apply a kind of technology, so weird as to be practically sorcery when compared to the science of more lawful planes (like our own). They use Contriving to craft wondrous creations to aid them in their stand against the forces of Chaos. They also seek to duplicate the innate ability of the Vadhagh to see and move among other planes.
      Manipulators of science in the Five Planes are often called seers, as a sign of a mystical approach to their craft. The term scientist is used only by those enlightened races who further their knowledge in this area without recourse to gods.

Perceptions of Magic
As in the Young Kingdoms, sorcery is viewed by Mabden with pathological superstition, particularly among the barbarians. Some Mabden, however (including King Lyr-a-Brode's Denledhyssi) have overcome such irrational fears, and now employ degenerated Nhadragh sorcerers to further their ends.
      Conversely, many of the Vadhagh who have had little contact with Mabden are so ignorant of the workings of Chaos that they believe sorcery is no more than Mabden superstition. They believe that the workings of the Five Planes can be explained through structured scientific inquiry. Ironically, to the ignorant Mabden the science of the Vadhagh is virtually indistinguishable from the sorcery employed by followers of Chaos.
      The Nhadragh have, of course, had ample contact with the Mabden, and some of their race have been pressed to pursue sorcerous knowledge. Very few of the remaining Nhadragh harbor any illusion about the imaginary nature of Chaos sorcery, and none, it would seem, devote themselves to whatever Lawful science their once matchless civilization may have pursued in the past.
      The Ragha-da-Kheta - as an elder race in the Five Planes - were previously aligned to Law, but having desperately adopted the worship of their would-be destroyer, Arioch, they have whole-heartedly embraced the practice of sorcery. Sorcery is generally employed by Ragha-da-Kheta priests to find ways of delaying the inevitable demise of their race. There are also those in their cities who truck in Chaotic trinkets.

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Product information

Corum: Heroic Adventures Across the Five Planes
DCS 2000
ISBN 0-9578427-0-8
$24.95 USD
168 pages
perfect-bound softcover
Released June 2001
Published by:

Darcsyde Productions
Under license from:

Chaosium Inc