Magic

Travellers on a Red Road takes place in a world where the supernatural is very close: the wilderness is full of spirits, some people are born able to speak to animals or see the future in their dreams, and it is well-known that those who die while carrying to much spiritual energy will return to haunt the living. Although the supernatural is in this way immanent, it is also mysterious: in matters of the creation of the world, the nature of the gods, and the final fate of the soul, there is only speculation and belief. Some other things are more certain, though, and one of those is the existence and power of magic.

Almost everyone knows a bit of magic. Even a character untrained in the proper rites can offer up a desperate invocation to whichever spirit might be listening when things look dire. Those who train more learn other pieces of folk magic: telling the future through casting bones or gazing into fire, making amulets to ward off evil, performing sacrifices to great spirits and gods. Yet even these practices, impressive as they may be, pale before the powers of true witches and sorcerers.

Sorcerers are not born, nor are they trained. In a moment of utter personal crisis, such as imminent death by disease or utmost grief, they were visited by a familiar spirit. Through their pact with this spirit, they have learned to work spells and send out their soul into the spirit world.

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If you’re lucky, you get a cute one.

As a sorcerer grows in power, they will seek out more spirits, learning how to cast new spells. Some even enter pacts with beings of great power: Lady Firefly, the Bone Mother, Yün the Crimson Death, or other mysterious creatures.

Sorcerers are not to be trusted. Oh, some of them might be alright, blessed with a familiar spirit that teaches them to make flowers bloom, help couples conceive, or staunch wounds, but others are first taught to raise the dead, break your bones with a glance, or cause madness. Even the most benevolent of witches might push themselves too hard and create side effects that threaten both themselves and others.

There are also other practicioners of magic: makers of dream-draughts, skin-changer cultists, people born with strange abilities. Some would say that the experiments of Orakawan and Simeragalan artisans verge on magic, as they strive to trap lightning in clay jars or craft spider-silk kites that can carry a human aloft. In any case, Kalaga is a setting filled with odd phenomena, making it a weird and wondrous place to explore.

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