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The Empire of the Rising Sun (3.5e Campaign Setting)/Magic

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Arcane MagicEdit

In the Empire, even arcane spellcasters admit that their power comes from the divine, albeit in a less direct way. Elementalists and sorcerers both get their power from the Elemental dragons; the elementalist is given a teeny tiny party of the Dragon's power, and the sorcerer has a teeny tiny part of the dragon's blood in him that allows him to cast spells. Warmagi consider themselves to be former members of Ashura-do spiritually, which is where they gain their power from. Extremely powerful warmagi boast that their power comes directly from Hachiman or Bishamonten. No one knows exactly where an assassin's magical ability comes from; scholars have speculated that it originates from Jigoku, or perhaps from the element Void. Similarly, no one knows where a jester's magic comes from; most assume it originates from Chikushudo or perhaps Yume-do.

Arcane magic is somewhat rarer than divine magic, as is often looked upon as inferior to the divine. This is because many arcane spellcasters were born as members of the heimin class, and discovered their latent abilities later on. They require little to no teachers, but there is a yearly "magic check" that goes on throughout the empire, where they test all of the children from all classes, taking those with abilities to training faculties where they learn to use their powers to greater effect.

Sphere MagicEdit

Sphere magic is rare in the Empire, and is only used by geomancers and warlocks. Both those classes are rare in the Empire, which makes sphere magic feared if only because it is a foreign and unknown element. Sphere magic is generally assumed to come from Jigoku, even though a geomancer's sphere powers originate from the Elemental Dragons. Most sphere users attempt to pass it off as some other sort of spellcasting, if only to avoid persecution.

Name MagicEdit

Name magic is an entirely seperate school of magic, and is only used by sorcerers who take levels of the name mage prestige class. Name magic focuses on the Name of the caster and the True Names of others, giving them terrifying abilities. Name magic is seen as extremely crude by other Jumon and especially by divine spellcasters. It is often associated with evil, since Name magic is often used to summon fiends and because the name magi can enhance their spells with blood, but was originally discovered and use as a force of good.


In this campaign setting, necromancy functions under the Crawling Darkness option. Negative energy stems from Jigoku, the Realm of Evil (it's so Evil that it gets a capital E), so anyone using negative energy is technically gaining their power from there, which is bad.

When you creat undead or animate something's body, the raw power of Jigoku flows into the body and makes it serve you (hopefully). But, when left alone without orders, the dark energy of the most Jealous realm seeks to destroy and corrupt Ningen-do. So undead without commands or left to their own devices will kill any and every living thing.

Most necromancers in the Empire are wizards, even though wizardry was outlawed a long time ago, secretly using their dark powers to destroy Ningen-do, whether they are aware of the consequences of their actions or not. Some sorcerers also use necromancy, but those who practice it openly can expect to be hunted down by the majo-kari. Anyone who is proven to be a practictioner of necromancy is publicly executed. If they are a necromancer of great power, special gems or prisons may be built to keep their soul from every escaping.

Making undead in the Empire is hard work. After a great necromancer tried to destroy the Empire with an army of undead, an Imperial edict was passed that made necromancy and wizardry illegal, and also commanded that, after someone died, their body is to be cremated so they can never come back as an undead. Of course, most of the heimin have stopped doing this, and a prospective necromancer can always kill the victims himself and then animate them...

Divine MagicEdit

Divine magic is seen as superior in the Empire for one, simple reason: it (usually) requires training. Someone doesn't just wake up one morning and have divine powers, they have to learn them in a school of some sort. Because of this, most divine spellcasters are members of samurai caste or higher, as they are the only people able to afford the tuition.

Out of all the divine spellcasters in the Empire, spirit shamans are the most highly demanded and respected. They are the priests of the Kami, and actually have control over the spirit realm. When a spirit shaman casts a spell, he is actually offering a prayer to a mikokami who, when the prayer is done correctly, appears and does something for the caster. Because their magic is so tied to Tengoku, they are the highest ranking divine spellcasters.

Druids and rangers are seem as somewhat inferior to spirit shamans. They draw their power from all the kami of the earth, arguably at the same time, whereas their higher-ranked cousins simply summon one spirit or two. Still, they are regarded with great respect.

Paladins and sohei are the lowest ranking divine spellcasters. While they gain their powers from the kami, their spells are less in number and in power than any of the other divine spellcasters. Sohei technically rank below paladins because, while the paladin is a member of the samurai caste, sohei are members of the militant clergy, which ranks below the samurai.


In the Empire, no one uses psionics. Its not that they're outlawed, its just that nobody has that sort of gift. Psionic races from outside the Empire still have psionic abilities, as do any sort of psionic monsters that you may want to include, but no-one inside the empire knows how to use them.

Magic in SocietyEdit

The most powerful Jumon knows the same truth as the most cowardly goblin samurai: the spirits of both the elements and of the ancestors are everywhere. Magic, to the Empire, is not simply a spirit shaman bending the spirits and natural world to his will. Magic is in the bird taking flight, in the sun each morning. The very existence of mankind is a form of magic.

In a more common definition, however, magic is what the Jumon make an art of, and even the fire mage's powers are a form of magic. While average citizens understand that such magic surrounds them every day, it is still a holy practice, something to be looked upon with wonder.

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