Magic and Power Sources
Most arcane characters studied the magical arts at an Arcanum. The prevailing theory at the Arcana is that magic is the manipulation of energies from metaphysical planes or domains that intersect or “bleed” into the material plane. For example, a pyromancer would gain most of his power from the Elemental Domain of Fire. Students of the Arcana are first taught to access and control what is called the Domain of Paths or more commonly the Domain of Magic. It is believed to be one of the stable domains with more controllable energies an it is believed to act as a conduit between the other domains.
In more remote regions where there are no Arcana for people to seek training, magecraft is often less refined and controlled. Most unaffiliated mages lack control of even one domain. Depending on their talent and effort of study, Arcanum mages may have access to as many as 7 domains although most prefer to focus their efforts on 1 or 2 domains for a greater degree of control. Unaffiliated mages have become less common as the various Arcana have campaigned to raise awareness of the danger of uncontrolled magecraft. They offer scholarships to most potential mages to study at the Arcana, or if the candidate is not interested in study, a job or affiliated membership and training.
Artificers and bards are considered to access the arcane power source but their theory of magic differ slightly. Bards believe that words and music have inherent power and that knowing the true names of things allows control over them. Arcanum affiliated bards believe this is accessed through the Domain of Music and the Domain of Names. Artificers are divided into 2 main schools of thought: mechanics and enchanters. Mechanic artificers usually only studied basic magecraft to harness the energies to power their devices, treating magic as a convenient power source, while relying on their skill in forging machinery to produce their desired effects. Enchanters on the other hand are usually more adept at magic and use it directly to produce effects with the items mostly acting as a focus for the magic. The artificers have their own guilds and also faculties in the Arcana.
Primal characters usually draw their power from spirits of creatures and even inanimate objects. Most primal aligned characters believe that there is a world spirit that empowers everything in the world and that each person or object has a fragment of this world spirit in them. They commune with these spirits and call on them for aid and to lend their power. A theory at the Arcana is that these spirits are denizens of the various Domains. Whatever their origin, these spirits provide real power.
Most primal characters do not belong to specific organizations although they do recognize the skills and experience of other practitioners and seek their advice and guidance. Orders and organizations do exist, but usually the task of training a new practitioner is done by a single teacher imparting his or her wisdom.
Psionic characters share some of the philosophies of both the arcane and primal modes of thought. They believe their psionic power is the manifestation of the latent potential in each creatures thoughts and emotions. (Arcane scholars would classify them as accessing the Domain of the Mind.) The psionic power source is believed to be the mental essence of living creatures. Psionic characters believe that each sentient being has latent energy that manifests itself as life and thought. They believe that by meditation/practice, they can turn that life essence/mental essence back into raw energy and utilise it.
Divine characters channel no power of their own, but are blessed by their gods to channel power on their behalf. Some deities bless their worshippers with great abilities to carry out their divine will. Divine characters feel they do not control their powers, but only act as conduits for the power that their deity wields.
Martial characters like to hit things really hard. Woo.
The martial power source is nothing but the raw physical power, skill and training of each practitioner. However, some people have occasionally felt surges of unnatural strength or speed. This is attributed to harnessing the full physical potential of their bodies, but some feel that this derives from sacrificing their own long term vitality or life force somehow to enable these feats. This theory has never been proven, since most adventurers with the capabillity to access such power tend to lead relatively short lives due to the dangers of their vocation anyways.