The Theory of Magic
Magic is a concept or force that, left alone, happens to leave behind gold. It’s like ‘vibration’ or ‘heat’. It’s as magic interacts with lead that it becomes gold, just as heat interacts with water to become steam. These interactions, however, have shapes- like the shape of bubbles rising through boiling water. The practice of spellcasting is making the world interact with these shapes.
Sorcerers & Gods are magic
Life itself can be influenced by exposure to a magic as well. Sorcerers happen to be born in conditions and environments that imbue them with sensitivity to Magic- They are shapes themselves. This can be dangerous and wild, but can be mastered like any organ through discipline and focus. The strongest Sorcerers become Gods, blurring the line between life and magic. They are living magic, not merely life that has magic. They have shed their limbs and lessor parts to refocus their mind on magic.
Druids & Monks can observe magic
Rather than make shapes, some life can ride them through perception. They have just enough magical sensitivity to know where to be or not be to maximize a desired effect. They see natural processes in a way that others can not, and time their actions like a passenger on a swing, angling themselves like a kite, influencing the physical world precisely and at the most effective times to manipulate what’s already happening.
Barbs, Rangers, & Bards can influence magic
These casters push and pull at a swing they can not see. They rely on physical indicators of their magical effect, and try to repeat past behaviors. They know if they plant their foot this way or strum these barres with this timing, they can incite a wave of rage or laughter that amplifies in some unseen dimension.
Warlocks & Paladins focus a god’s magic
The aforementioned gods, having sacrificed their corporeal forms, often reach out to life and ask for servitude. It’s a fairly straightforward exchange that requires no magical sensitivity or even natural perceptiveness.
Clerics convince a god to use magic
A step beyond the Paladin, Clerics have enough focus and insight to manipulate the tools their patrons provide with so much skill that the patrons themselves consider the Cleric’s input regarding execution. This is not an exchange of servitude- The two are aligned in both ends and means, and the Patron trusts the Cleric’s judgement. Using this trust, Clerics of old were shown the full shape of the forms that Druids see the edges of.
Wizards act alone, without magic
But when a Cleric decides their Patron is wrong, and they lose any continuing guidance they might have had, they must rely on the documented accounts and records made by other casters. Having been shown the nature of magic, these casters maximize not just existing waves, but methods and artifacts. They have none of the natural ability of a god, but all of the determination.
Magic as a Natural Force
There is a particular shape in which some cosmic force, whole or in part, moves to cast magic missile, but the limitations of mortality make it utterly imperceptible. That force exists in a dimension beyond magic, casting magic as a shadow which in turn casts a shadow we call ‘reality’. Not only can we not be sure of how casters pluck at it, we can not characterize the behavior, as the operation happens in a dimension totally foreign to us. It’s like explaining a crush vs a squeeze to flatlanders- They can’t see the dimension in which the difference is happening, so there is no difference. Even Wizards, who dedicate their lives and the lives of others, still only make haphazard models that attempt to fit the many documentations they have. We lack a language with which to describe magic.