Table of contents

This is not a realm of telepathy and spell books, of magic missiles and fireballs. Magic, in Newgulf, is organic and personal, focused around enhancing the self, enhancing ones friends and allies, and enhancing the surrounding world. It is less focused around ritual and words and more about self-awareness and understanding of one's own magic and body. It does not function through words or spells, through gestures or components or any other visible medium, but through instinct. It is like walk in that everyone can do it to some degree, but only some people can learn to run, to jump, or dance.

Magical functions

Magic takes on three primary functions.

The first is personal or internal enhancements, to make oneself stronger, faster, calmer or to recover from great injuries. People who are talented in this area might find themselves working with their hands or with animals, carrying heavy loads or running to deliver messages. They must have great instincts, be somewhat physical, and probably not well-trained.

The second is external or friendly enhancements, to hold power over other people and aid, protect, or manipulate them. People who are talented in this area might be doctors, teachers, psychiatrists, might also handle animals and soothe them, or might be preachers who work crowds into a frenzy. They are usually manipulative, either to good or bad results, and and good with other people. To become good at this magic takes training.

The last function lies in the realm of creation. Newgulf operates not on electricity, not on minerals or natural resources or found substances, but on magic. Construction and technology and magic are all one in the same. Artisans and craftsmen are not people who know how to carve and cut and build, but people who know how to grow the four Great Materials: Actin, Chitin, Haemol and Spiracle. They build homes and vehicles and musical instruments, maintain and repair buildings as well as the Turritella itself, and produce the safest, most potent magic-enhancing drugs. They require huge amounts of training, apprenticeships, and are supposed to have licenses.

Magical Elements

No one is good at everything, and this applies to magic, as well. Magical ability is split into four - arguably five - main elements or areas of study. These elements loosely connect to the Great Materials, and each area implies a different personality, a different ability, and a different usefulness and career. When magic is cast, it leaves an impression on surrounding crowds, though this sensation might be decreased or even eliminated entirely with training and experience.

Breath Magic

It comes with a sensation of wind against the skin, the reassurance of a cool breeze, or the whipping-hot feel of a desert dust storm. People who are experts in breath magic can affect the agility and speed of themselves or other people, increasing dexterity or slowing to a crawl. Artisans in this field are in charge of making Spiracle, the fibers that bind constructions together.

Blood magic

It comes with a hot wash of blood to the face, a prickling heat against the skin that can be warming and cozy or burning and painful, as well as a metallic tang on the back of the tongue. Experts in blood magic can control their own emotions, or the emotions of the people around them, soothing or driving them into a frenzy. They can't choose specific emotions, they only enhance or subdue. Artisans are key in making a construction's life-blood, the Haemol.

Bone Magic

It comes with a dry brush against the skin, a lifting of moisture like a wonderful hot day or like the grit of sand in the eyes. People who are experts in bone magic focus in strength and power, making themselves or other people stronger or weaker and everything associated with this. Artisans erect and grow the Chitin, which provides the grounding and support of any construction.

Flesh magic

It comes with goosebumps on any exposed skin, either the delighted goosebumps of excitement or the shocked goosebumps of fear. People who are experts in flesh magic can heal people or buildings, repair damage or cure sicknesses, increase the ability to withstand pain and disease. Artisans make the Actin, the rubber-like body and muscle of any construction.

Void magic

It comes with dark spots on the edges of the vision, a queasy twist in the pit of the stomach that is never good. Some people argue that Void magic isn't actually magic, that it's evil, that it's a perversion of all that is good in magic. They might be right. Void magic eats the other kinds of magic, decreases their effectiveness, causes pain and incapacitates people. It is outlawed, especially as it's suspected to have caused the Blight in almost every set of beliefs. The most (in)famous users of void magic are, of course, the Void Eaters.


In addition to the immediate magic that comes of instinct and thought, there is one other form that magic can take: tinctures and potions. Haemol or Actin in particular, but any of the four Great Materials can be infused with magical strength and used later, drunk or eaten or pressed against the skin. It is incredible difficult to create a tincture, however, and the secrets on how to do it are jealously guarded by the Aristocrats. Very few people have access. They are very expensive, and difficult to acquire.

However, some natural drugs are believed to increase magical ability as well. These are more dangerous, as they're highly illegal and mostly transported up from Cessnock, grown near the planet's surface. Most of them carry traces of the Blight, and large scale usage can result in contracting the sickness. In small doses, occasional use in private homes, they are usually safe enough that many people are willing to risk it.

The Great Materials

Magic is also used in the construction of the four Great Materials - Actin, Chitin, Spiracle, and Haemol - and Ommatidia crystals.