Magic is the ability possessed by some individuals to manipulate the ambient energies of the world to produce desired results. In Realms, arcane magic is commonly referred to as "the Art", while divine magic is referred to as "the Power".
Divine Magic Magic that originates from a deity, usually through prayer, is divine in nature and is called the Power by the common folk. Clerics, druids, paladins and rangers all derive their spells and spell-like abilities from a deity. A practitioner of the Power has no affinity with the Art, as their spells are planted in their minds directly by their patron deity, and they do not tap the Weave. Casting divine spells is more like an exclamation of faith that brings about a sensation appropriate to the patron deity to whom the faith was devoted.
Any magic that doesn't originate from a deity is defined as arcane magic. The use of arcane magic is referred to in day-to-day speech as the Art, and a wide variety of people are able to practice the Art to a smaller or larger extent, though the way in which they access the Weave can differ dramatically. Most wizards spend long years researching their art, gathering spells to their personal book, and each day they can only memorize a small fraction of these. The memory of the spell is wiped from his or her mind as it is cast. The wizard has to re-study the spell before he or she can cast it again, unless more than one casting of the spell in question was prepared. Sorcerers are not required to research spells. They tap the Weave in a more direct manner, but because of this, the selection of spells available to a sorcerer is more limited than that available to a wizard. Bards, assassins and many others access the Weave to use certain magical abilities.
Schools of magic are categories of spells organizing by general function. Some spellcasters decide to specialize in spells from a certain school. They focus more effort into these spells than any other at the expense of all spells from one or two other schools. These schools of magic have been in existence for longer than anyone cares to remember and no one seems to know who originally came up with them. They also show no signs of being abandoned.
Most schools of magic also have subschools that help define the spells with even more accuracy. The major schools of magic are as follows:
Abjuration Spells that protect the caster. Conjuration Spells that create or transport people, energy or objects. Divination Spells that allow the caster to see things that they normally wouldn't be able to. Enchantment Spells that affect the minds of other creatures. Evocation Spells that create energy out of the raw power of the Weave. Illusion Spells to fool the senses. Necromancy Spells that deal with negative energy. Transmutation Spells to enhance or change creatures and things.
- Verbal component
Many spells require the caster to speak certain words, or, in the case of a bard, create music, to cast a spell. Being prevented from speaking, such as a gag, or effects that remove sounds, such as certain magical effects, makes it impossible for a caster to cast such a spell. A deafened caster may fail when casting a spell, by misspeaking, which causes the spell to be lost.
- Somatic component
Many spells require the caster to make a motion to cast the spell. If the caster is unable to make the correct motion, the spell cannot be cast. Wearing armor or using a shield interferes with the somatic components of arcane spells, creating a risk of spell failure. Bards and some other arcane classes can cast spells in light armor without this risk.
- Material components
Casting a spell often requires that the caster sacrifice some sort of material component. Often, these components are virtually worthless, but some spells, such as spells to reanimate the dead, require material components costing thousands of gold pieces. If a caster is unable to access or use the correct spell component, the spell cannot be cast.
- Magical focus
Alternatively, casting a spell may require that the caster have access to a holy symbol or other special object, to focus on when casting the spell. This is mostly true for divine spells.