Detect Magic in a Magical World
Conclave is a magical world. Things that happen due to physics in our world happen due to magic in Conclave, even seemingly physics-driven things like the machines of Hudan. Rivers run downhill because the river spirits have been ordered to make them do so by the Divine Emperor. The heavenly bodies move on the intangible spheres of the Firmament, not because they are held by gravitational forces. Soil is invigorated by the presence of fertile earth spirits, plants grow under the control of plant spirits; simple magic is everywhere.

So what happens, then, if a character were to cast detect magic? Surely everything would register? And what if they tried to dispel magic? Would it be possible to dispel the entire world?

Well, no.

There are two types of magic. There is the kind of magic performed by mortals in the form of spells, that generally produce a small, temporary change in the world. And then there is natural magic, the result of spirits, gods and other mysterious powers doing what they are supposed to do. Mortal spells that detect or interfere with "magic" only do so with mortal magic. A detect magic spell cast on a stream would not detect the presence of the spirit magic that makes the stream flow and gives life to aquatic flora and fauna but it would detect if that water was under the influence of a control water spell. Many magical theorists presume, in this example, that mortal magic has wrested control of the water from the spirits for a while, and hence why such spells can be cast in the first place, by temporarily influencing natural magic. Mortal magic is simply taking hold of the natural magic for a while and bending it to the caster's own ends.

Optionally, since there is the possibility of spells that can detect spirits and the like (see here for example), a gamesmaster could rule that spells that detect, dispel, protect from etc. "magic" will not work against the spell-like abilities and supernatural powers of creatures with the "Spirit" descriptor. These abilities would count as natural magic. However, spells that detect, dispel or protect from "spirits" would work against such creatures. The full ramifications of this have not been explored fully, and may render the "magic"-based spells much less useful, but it helps to further differentiate spirits from the mortal realm.

(c) 2009 The Creative Conclave.
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