Flintlocks & Fireballs
Unnatural Phenomena and the Arcane Arts
Magic is where the real power lies, and was discovered some fourty years ago during the exploration of the North. It is powered by carefully-carved Etherite spellgems. Magic can only ever work over short distances, and it will generally only have short-term effects.
Magitech is the marriage of magic and technology. Unlike normal magic, it can produce long-term effects, and properly-made magitech devices do not need special training to use.
Ritual and superstition
Before the secrets of Etherite were uncovered, there were still secrets of rituals passed down. None of them did anything immediate or measurable; most of them were in the “stick pins into a wax effigy and maybe your enemy will twist his ankle or get a bad back or something” style of thing. There were supposedly a number of them that allowed you to see the future; some allowed you to control the undead; some gave you good luck or made someone fall in love with you. The most famous one is the one that summons a Devil. This varies — depending on the source — from shouting at a mirror at midnight to letting a drop of blood fall into a saucer of water under a full moon to burning a poem that somebody else has written about you. Like all rituals, none of these work consistently, and there’s no way to tell whether the devil in question didn’t just teleport in from the street when it heard you. For sure, nobody sane would ever rely on a ritual, but a lot of folks still do them for luck, or for lack of anything better to do, or out of desperation.
Alchemy has been around for ages and isn’t very magical at all; a lot of it has been subsumed into the rather more reliable business of chemistry, but there are still some things that defy the scientific method. Alchemists run the gamut from messing around with herbs and plants to painstakingly forging just the right kind of metal. What they don’t ever do is create flash-bang magical effects. (Chemists managed that; it’s called gunpowder.) An alchemically treated sword will stay sharper or be lighter but it won’t shoot fireballs or drink your soul. The most that alchemists can ever manage as far as magic-like effects are concerned is to create bags of nasty, noxious stuff that sticks to your body and burns you, poisons you, or glues you to the ground when they throw it at you.
Alchemical healing tends be limited to short-term injuries. A potion that will cure something like a severed limb or a lifelong illness will fetch a very high price generally limiting it to nobility, or those of the middle class who have decent savings; even then, many of these ‘cures’ need to be continually taken. There are a number of preparations sold as ‘potions of healing’ that will close up a wound and give you the strength to carry on regardless until you get proper healing; these, of course, are handed out like popcorn to mercenary groups. The poor generally have to rely on healing their wounds the old-fashioned way.
Another popular alchemical creation is silversteel. Silversteel is a variety of steel that weighs about half as much; it’s commonly used to craft armour that can be carted about without tiring its user. Silversteel armour is still just as bulky as its heavier counterpart, so it doesn’t make fighting any easier — it just makes moving around in full armour a lot less taxing.