The Duchies of Estalon
Magic is the alteration of reality by force of will channeled via invocations/mental imagery and fueled by Mana. Despite that seemingly simple explanation, magic is considered the most complicated area of study in all of the lands. Magic is governed by rules set down during the creation of the world, however the mortal races only have an incomplete understanding of those rules, making the use of magic unreliable and occasionally dangerous.
Mortals who can use Magic are called Mages, and are born with a talent that lets them access ambient mana. Outside of rare high Mana areas, to cast spells a person has to have the talent (represented by the magery trait), which varies in strength from wizard to wizard. About 1 in 10 people have the minimum level of talent required to cast basic spells, but in practice few of those actually pursue magic either lacking the intellect for it or the predilection. Each successive level of talent is about ten times as rare as the previous, magery 1 occurs in about 1 in 100 people, and magery 4 is about 1 in 100,000. This means that most fair sized villages will have a hedge mage, and large cities can have dozens of mages of various talent levels. Most mages learn their trade from a master, though larger organizations of mages are not unheard of, the relative scarcity of those with the talent and the calling means they are rare outside of very large cities.
Mana is the fuel for magic, but it is as poorly understood as magic in general. For instance all living creatures store mana in their bodies, but the amount of mana stored doesn’t seem to be proportional to the size of the creature, instead it seem to be based on the creatures predilection to use magic. Thus a small magic using monster could have a lot of mana stored in it’s body, where as cows and horses have next to none.
Mana is omnipresent throughout the realm, however it varies in concentration. The highest concentration is in ley lines which streak about the country side with no apparent rhyme or reason. Ley lines tend to be no more than a few miles long, and a hundred feet across. Ley Lines also attract various monsters who seem to feed on the high level of ambient mana. Outside of ley lines other pockets of mana exists being higher or lower then the usual concentrations of ambient mana. High concentrations usually occur in more natural environments, and low concentrations tend to occur in cities and desolate areas.