The Schools of Arcane Magic
Penned by the skilled hand of Archmage Ansirem Runeweaver
The wondrous gift of magic can be bent to many purposes. We the learned have found that it is easiest to divide the eldritch arts into eight different categories in order to further understand the fundamentals of magic itself. Each of these categories is known as a school of magic, for they are often learned separately and mages frequently choose to specialize in one type or another. Other mages attempt to master all forms of magic, but few have achieved this lofty goal. Within this tome we will discuss each individual school of magic and some of their notable practitioners.
All schools of magic can be combined to create formidable spells that utilize multiple sources of power. Some of these potent spells are discusses later in this series of books, but beware, combining multiple types of magic can be extremely dangerous - especially for beginners.
Here you will learn the basics of all schools of magic. Please remember that magic is not to be abused. Do not practice magic without the appropriate supervision.
Abjuration is the study of protective magic and one of the most important schools for a young mage to study. The most generalized abjuration spell is the mana shield, a spell that transmutes raw mana into a barrier that protects the caster from attacks. Properly executed, this spell can protect the mage against even the most formidable of attacks - but the mana shield is very difficult for a novice to master. It often takes a mage months of practice to even conjure a simple mana shield, and thus, more basic alternatives exist.
A series of elemental armor spells were invented to aid the traveling mage in the unfortunate case that he or she might be attacked. These spells require far less raw energy to cast then a mana shield and are more easily maintained over time, but lack the raw potency of the mana shield. Rather than stopping an attack completely, a frost armor spell might simply decrease the effectiveness of the assault. The more advanced armor spells grant other benefits - for example, the potent mage armor spell actually assists the caster in regaining magical power more easily.
Practitioners of the arcane arts are often ambitious, and we frequently find ourselves in situations where magic may slip just slightly beyond our control. It is for this reason that the ward spells exist. Ward spells are quick, potent incantations to protect the caster against a form of elemental damage - damage which is often caused by the caster attempting one of the other schools of magic. This is why studying abjuration early is so imperative.
One of the most renowned practitioners of Abjuration magic is Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. While the prince is quite formidable in all schools of magic, Kael'thas has created a variation of Mana Shield that is practically unsurpassed in among the residents of Dalaran. Also notable is the Arcanist Doan, who has perfected a spell that combines Evocation and Abjuration to shield himself for a short time while preparing a powerfull area-of-effect spell. This Detonate spell provides Doan with a degree of near invulnerability for a precious few seconds, but few mages have the capacity to cast it safely.
Conjuration is the study of summoning - both creatures and objects. Ever really, really wanted a fresh drink of spring water when you're in the middle of nowhere? Conjuration, my friend, is the answer. There is nothing more enjoyable for a mage than creating a fresh slice of bread or a glass of water. Just ask any of us!
More formidable specialists in conjuration can summon several glasses of water at once, or perhaps even a tankard. A few daring wizards have occasionally attempted to summon water without remembering the glass - and thus, the art of summoning water elementals was born. Water elementals are a wizard's best friend. (Felhounds are not, in fact, friendly at all.) A summoned elemental is a formidable ally in combat, a great listener, and they even taste great!
There are several wizards who have chosen to follow the refreshing path of conjuration. Captain Balinda Stonehearth is a fine example of a mage who has chosen to adapt conjuration magic for battle. Perhaps the most famous conjuror of our time, however, was the beloved Archmage Nielas Aran. Aran was not only noted for being able to summon several elementals at once, he also perfected a recipe for conjuring sparkling cider. It should be noted that Nileas Aran was no simple jester. That's what magic is all about.
Divination is the school of magic dedicated to gathering information. Powerful divinations can allow the mage to see targets from a great distance, or even view what may normally be invisible. One of the most common uses of divination magic is scrying, which is the art of seeing something that may be far away - perhaps even on another plane of existance.
I'd like to take this time to remind my apprentices that scrying pools are not a toy. They are absolutely not to be used for displaying students of the opposite sex on a pay per view basis. Consider this your last warning.
The legendary archmage known as Medivh is perhaps the greatest known master of divination. His potent spells allowed him to peer into the world of Draenor from our Home in Azeroth - and perhaps even beyond. We can only speculate at the true depths of the power that Medivh once held.
Enchantment is the process of imbuing an object - or person - with magical power. Some enchantments are temporary, while others can offer permanent benefits. Enchanting can be difficult to learn, but it is one of the most potentially lucrative forms of magic to study. I highly encourage the study of enchanting, as it is one of the studies of magic that is least likely to culminate in my own destruction.
Disenchanting is the process of dispelling or removing magic. The dispel magic spell is among the most important in a mage's arsenal, as it can potentially reverse the catastrophic effects of a misfired spell. It is also possible to permanently disenchant a magical item. This produces a unique form of crystallized mana that can be used in the process of imbuing another item with magical abilities. While this can get expensive, it is often one of the best ways for a young mage to study the enchanting process.
While he has already previously been mentioned for his skill in abjuration, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider is also considered one of the foremost masters of enchanting in our time. He has not only mastered the creation of potent magical weapons, but the prince has also learned to manipulate these objects remotely, allowing them to fight on their own. This can quickly allow the prince to fight as if he was defended by several skilled guardians even when he is completely by himself. A potent defense, indeed.
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Illusion is the art of deceiving reality itself. The mists of illusion can make a mage invisible or inaudible to the world or twist the image of a location into something entirely different. Illusion can be used for disguise or manipulation, but beware, spells to counteract illusions exist in the divination school. It is not viable to base your entire career on illusionary magic.
Contrary to popular belief, illusions are far more than mere parlor tricks. The spell of invisibility is among the most integral in a battle mage's repertoire, as you will often find yourself in dangerous situations and in need of a quick method for a strategic retreat. Illusions can also be used to deceive your opponents into thinking that you are elsewhere, or even trick your enemies into fighting each other. This is no easy task, but the accomplished illusionist can turn allies into enemies - and his or her own enemies into allies.
The former archmage Jandice Barov - may her soul rest in peace - was an excellent example of a talented illusionist. In life, she developed a spell that displayed several images of her body that were nearly indistinguishable from her real form. These images duplicated her actions from different locations, making it nearly impossible for her enemies to find her. It was almost infallible. Which brings me to another lesson - almost is simply not good enough.
Necromancy is the study of magic involving the dead. It is highly illegal and should be avoided at all costs. I discuss necromancy here only because it is our obligation to have a basic understanding of the magic employed by our enemies - and make no mistake, any practitioner of necromancy is your enemy. Necromancers and their followers are the enemies of all living things. Their influence must be avoided at all costs.
Necromantic magic has many functions beyond simply raising the dead. Masters of this tainted field of magic can conjure festering diseases, harness the shadows into bolts of incendiary energy, and chill the living with the power of death. Necromancy can also be used to reconstruct the flesh of undead creatures, allowing them to function again even after the foul monsters have been destroyed.
The former archmage Kel'Thuzad is perhaps the most notable example of a modern necromancer. He greatly contributed to the initial spread of the Scourge and the fall of Lordaeron. Now, Kel'Thuzad reigns as a lich from the floating citadel of Naxxramas. His ongoing existence poses an imminent threat to us all.
The eighth and final school of magic is transmutation. It is among the most popular and useful of all of the schools, allowing a mage to manipulate time and space. Perhaps the most iconic Transmutation spell is Polymorph, which allows a mage to turn something - or someone - into something else. Fortunately for many of my students, the effects are not permanent. I've seen more than one unwary apprentice turned into a sheep, pig, or worse - don't even ask what "worse" means.
The second most famous use for transmutation magic is teleportation. The most basic teleportation spell is blink, and it remains among the most useful. Blink can be used to quickly escape a foe - or save a mage who has accidentally fallen off a cliff. Do not attempt to use blink to escape falling to your death unless absolutely necessary. This is the kind of trick you can only fail once.
Make absolutely certain you know your destination before attempting to teleport. There's a reason we have very specific spells to teleport to certain locations - attempts to cast a teleportation "on the fly" often result in one very dead mage inside a wall, chair, or another mage. And I don't mean in a fun way.
Spells that manipulate time also fall into this category. The ever-popular slow fall spell is an excellent alternative to falling to your death (and much more reliable than Blink at this function). More advanced practitioners of the arcane arts can also learn a spell that slows the movements of their enemies. I've heard rumors of a spell that increases movement speed as well, but I've never seen it in practice.
Lady Jaina Proudmoore is a skilled practitioner of transmutation magic. She has developed a powerful variation of the popular mass-teleport spell that is capable of moving a significant percentage of her army with minimal effort. This spell helps make her extremely unpredictable on the battlefield.