Mana is the surrounding energy of the world and nature itself, not to mention it’s also the energy needed to perform magic. Mana is though to arise as the by-product of the creation of the universe and permeates through both matter and empty space like background radiation.
The Theory of Mana
Mana theory is the concept of a force that is inherent in all objects, plants, and animals (including people) to different degrees. This is based on the idea among the Polynesian cultures of the South Pacific, and similar indigenous tribes on Kaf.
More studies into the concept has shown them that creation consists of particles, wavelengths and frequencies. All matter; all things emit energy including consciousness. Particularly for sapient creatures, when they think or feel, they emit a wave of energy which on a micro scale changes the energy around them to resonate at that same vibratory level, the basic process of magic. Most of these interactions only have very subtle effects on their own, similar to luck or prestige.
Mana as Potential
Because mana surrounds and penetrates living beings, they can unintentionally store mana within their bodies often referred to as internal mana. Individual differences when it comes to how much different individuals store the power became an individual’s mana capacity, it is an innate talent or ‘gift’ difficult to develop through training.
One way to increase mana capacity is to reinforce willpower, which governs mana. It is believed that by mental growth, and training of the mind, the ability to hold mana also increases. Another method is to improve the efficiency of the techniques used to convert the energy in the atmosphere to mana. If the amount of willpower used can be reduced by this process, then mana capacity can increase as a result.
As such many types of magic have been observed to have a subjective component, that is say that the actions made are typically altered by the internal mental and emotional state of the subject. Which then makes it harder to test objectively and have others reproduce the same results. Of course, since magic can often have a tangible effect on the world, great steps have been made in magic discoveries.
Mana when used as a source of energy, is akin to electrical energy, with kinetic and potential types. Mana can energize specially made objects and can be drawn from nature by people to cast spells, but cannot be drawn from other people or creatures due to willpower and instinctual resistance.
This means that mana itself has more or less a renewable source, but the practitioner cannot preserve any Mana if he exhausts his own willpower. In this state, the practitioner can be said to be out of Mana.
Magic: How to do the Gathering
Magical energy is gathered, usually by the practitioner from some source. This can be been done by the practitioner absorbing the energy into themselves or drawing it into some other external source. Certain beings can also lend their power to a practitioner, or in other extreme cases it can be taken by force (such as sacrifices).
Symptoms of rapid/large mana expenditure:
-loss of focus
-short term memory loss
-degrade quality of used materials (fire go out, stones reduce to dust)
-most spells or skills require constant support of spending (binding)
-spirits can suffer from overall fatigue and exhaustion
Terrestrial mana is that of an entire world, like Kaf and the sustaining essence of the abiotic or non-living components of the environment. Although there is less than the universal variety, it is easier to convert into other forms of energy, and easier to process for spells and skills although the speed and quality is dependent on the physical state of the area. For a natural environment, the less pollution and more nutrients that exist in the soil are present, the more of this force will be in abundance and the faster it replenishes.
With pollution, mineral loss, overuse of non-renewable resources, and other degradations of nature can drop the mana to very little, making it harder for the soil to be fertile, spirits to get get energy, preternatural beings to use biological magic, and spells to be cast.
The ley lines on Kaf dictate how the various sources of mana around the world are estimated to flow through the World Trees. Places where these ley lines converge have the most dense concentration of mana, especially near the trees.
Curiously magical effects and devices powered by this form of mana, seem to weaken the further they are from the planet, outright losing all power once they leave the atmosphere.
Aether is the background cosmic energy that exists in empty space and also generated by energetic celestial bodies in space. Aether is intangible to most beings but this variety is drawn by elevated spirits to perform divine miracles. As such, their magic can operate even in the vacuum of space.