Cipher Magic

Cipher magic is the style of magic utilized by Cipher mages. It involves extracting one or more Cipher marks from the Cipher and projecting them into the world to bring about the desired effect.


The more complicated a spell, the more Cipher marks it will typically take to bring it about. This is one of the limiting factors in the power of any given mage. More powerful mages are able to handle more simultaneous Cipher marks, thus allowing them a much greater range of actions they could conceivably take.


The more power with which a spell is projected, the greater the effect upon the world. In this sense, the spell to light a candle would be the same as the spell to immolate a foe - it would be simply a matter of degree. Many novice mages have difficulty controlling the power that is associated with a spell. Due to this, it is required that novice mages practice their craft in secluded locations. This is the second limiting factor in the power of any given mage. Every practitioner has an upper limit to the level of power at which they can invoke a spell. Invoking spells at a level of power above an individual's "range" can result in the injury or death of the practitioner, as well as having possible unexpected or destructive side-effects. A mage's range typically increases with practice and age, although this is not categorically true, and can also be artificially enhanced by use of certain Cipher artifacts.


Many spells will include or result in a representation - an approximation of the Cipher mark(s) used to create the spell. This might take the form of a visible mark on an enchanted object, or the use of a word while casting a spell (an audible representation). These representations have no power on their own - they are just an interpretation of the Cipher mark outside of the Cipher. Representations will typically, but not always, be the same no matter which mage casts the spell. Non-mages cannot use representations to cast spells, as they have no inherent power. It is possible to hide the representation of a spell, or to cast a spell with no representation but this typically makes the spell more complex or difficult.

Forbidden Magic

There exist certain Cipher marks that are present in the Cipher but are considered forbidden by Cipher mages. The most common forbidden Cipher marks deal with "abhorrent" effects such as Necromancy. Attempting to draw a forbidden Cipher mark from the Cipher is not only exceptionally difficult (similar to the way that it is physically difficult for most people to deliberately cause pain and harm to themselves), but also causes feelings of intense nausea, and revulsion in a practitioner attempting to use them. The effects can vary between individuals, and may include such things as having the mind flooded with revolting imagery or having the sensation of swimming in raw sewage or even intense pain.

Learning to use Cipher Magic

The basics of Cipher magic are almost always taught by a parent, guardian, or mentor. The reason for this is that until a mage understands her or his own distinct differences in Cipher representation, the representation of a spell as written may not correspond in any meaningful way to the mage's own spell. At very high levels of proficiency, a mage may opt to learn Cipher spells from their written representations, however books containing these representations are rare and usually closely guarded and prized. Even at high levels of proficiency it is still preferable to learn from another mage if possible since this is typically faster (the student can see the spell as it is cast instead of mere representations of the marks).

See Also