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 #52: Advanced Divination (Part Five)

A little-known fact about divination magic is that it is divided into two subtypes.  Both have gone by differing names over the centuries, but nowadays are most commonly referred to as Apollonian and Dionysian divination, although few would recognise the … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #51: Advanced Divination (Part Four)

Divination can be used for more than combat and social interaction – it also helps with movement and with certain types of codebreaking. Second Sight By focusing their vision into the short-term future, diviners can sense their surroundings.  They observe … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #50: Advanced Divination (Part Three)

The last entry studied the use of path-walking in divination:  this entry will look at its short-ranged counterpart, precognition. Broad Focus Like most divination spells, precognition is more of a mental technique than a magical one.  It functions in the … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #49: Advanced Divination (Part Two)

There are many ways of using divination magic, each with their advantages and disadvantages.  This entry and the next will look at two of the extremes:  the very narrow (path-walking) and the very broad (precognition). Narrow Focus Path-walking is generally … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #48: Advanced Divination (Part One)

Divination is one of the more poorly understood types of magic; this article will look at some of the common misconceptions about seers and practitioners of probability magic. What Are The Limits? One uncommon (but regular) question asked by novices … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #47: Master and Apprentice (Part Six)

Once a novice has become an apprentice, they’ve cleared the biggest hurdle.  Apprentices have their own problems, but (except in really bad cases) they have a better time of it than Orphans do. Daily Life Apprentice life varies so much … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #46: Master and Apprentice (Part Five)

New mages can be brought into (or failed to be brought into) magical society in three ways:  they can be born into it, they can be recruited, or they can fall through the gaps. Children of Privilege Some mages are … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #45: Master and Apprentice (Part Four)

Before a master and an apprentice can hook up they have to find each other, which is harder than you’d think.  For apprentices seeking a master and for masters seeking an apprentice, there are two problems:  the numbers problem, and … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #44: Master and Apprentice (Part Three)

Modern apprenticeships don’t have a fixed length.  In the old days an apprentice was expected to study for a minimum of seven years, but this length has gradually diminished over the centuries – nowadays four to five years is more … Continue reading

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Encyclopaedia Arcana #43: Master and Apprentice (Part Two)

Part One of this article covered a Light apprentice’s obligations under a standard Light apprenticeship:  this second part will cover the master’s responsibilities.   Master Obligations • Instruction:  The first and most basic obligation of a master is to train … Continue reading

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