Category Archives: Encyclopaedia Arcana

This page is the index for the Encyclopaedia Arcana, a series of articles about the background and setting of the world of the Alex Verus novels. A new Encyclopaedia entry will be posted at 9:00 AM most Fridays.

Encyclopaedia Arcana #62: Ice Magic

One of the more common elemental types, ice magic is well known as a battle-magic style. While ice mages aren’t quite as common as fire mages, they’re still numerous, much more so than any of the universalist types. Fire and … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #61: Sound Magic

An odd hybrid of the three families, sound mages don’t fit neatly into any of the standard categories. They have some of the physical spells of elementalists and some of the more subtle abilities of universalists, yet personality-wise the mages … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #60: Shapeshift Magic

Shapeshifting is one of the most iconic of all magic types, but also one of the least common. True shapeshifting masters are very rare, more so than the great majority of life magic types and even most types of universalist. … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #59: Normals and Magic (Part Five)

The final part of this series will look at the ways in which a normal’s attitudes towards magic can change. The Shallows and the Depths Most apprentices (and more mages than should really be the case) view the categories of … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #58: Normals and Magic (Part Four)

Continuing from the previous entry, this part will look at some of the other kinds of normals.  It’s worth stressing once again that given the enormous variance of the normal population, all of these categories are very broad generalisations and … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #57: Normals and Magic (Part Three)

Normals are not a homogenous mass, and while they share the trait of being unable to perceive magic (well, mostly) they vary in just about every other way.  It’s worth looking briefly at some of the more obvious subcategories of … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #56: Normals and Magic (Part Two)

So what is the explanation for why magic goes largely undetected?  The answer lies in the difference between normals and sensitives. Normal Distribution Normals make up the vast majority of the human population of the world.  The exact proportion is … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #55: Normals and Magic (Part One)

One question that apprentices and adepts always ask sooner or later is how magic stays secret.  If so many people can use and detect magic, why doesn’t everyone know about it?  Why hasn’t the existence and practice of magic been … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #54: Advanced Divination (Part Seven)

Closely related to fortune telling is the Dionysian practice of auguries.  Like its relative, an augury looks into the future to find answers, but while fortune telling is focused around a person, an augury is based around a course of … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #53: Advanced Divination (Part Six)

Dionysian divination tends to have a bad reputation amongst Light and independent mages.  This hasn’t always been the case – according to mage historians, until as recently as the Late Middle Ages, Dionysian methods were still seen as the ‘standard’ … Continue reading

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