The Texture of Magic
The Netherworld is full of magical energies. Most of the time, they balance in a comfortable harmony — land and sky blended by water, doom and fire blended by rock, and so forth.
When the flow of magic is disrupted, storms and backlashes strike out and return the balance in local systems. Such storms are either avoided or sought depending on one’s tolerance for danger, weirdness, and need for power.
As a whole, all forms of magic blend in an unbroken spectrum. Water magic can be transitioned into fire magic if one pushes hard enough. This is overkill and is generally reserved for showing off, though, as magic can be split and rewoven. For instance: storm magic can shift, the electrical systems concentrated and rock magic applied to create fire.
Some wizards and witches divide the magical flows into levels as a way of self control and understanding the unnatural world. Dryads, a species of forest monster, are naturally adept at solar, river, forest and ground magics. A dryad witch can learn storm spells fairly easily because of these are comprised of ground and river magic.
Shifting into opposing spheres, noted above, is possible but difficult. Should a dryad witch wish to throw fireballs, for instance, they would first press their skills in stone magic to balance and anchor themselves and then begin the arduous task of practicing fire magic. On the opposite, a gorgon witch, being naturally adept at fire and stone magic, would have to study air spells in order to prepare for storm training.
Spells use an individual’s inner energy. More powerful spells require more energy, though as magic users themselves become stronger, they are able to generate significantly larger reserves that can be stored for longer periods of time. This spirit energy returns over time and can be aided by various potions and certain kinds of food.
Spell components, physically mundane objects such as herbs and crystals, help reduce the amount of energy a spell requires, though they are often consumed during the casting. Weight and comfort in carrying these items play heavily in the minds of adventuring magic users as they prepare to set out.
By reducing the personal energy load, spell components can allow the casters to use more spells and more powerful spells at the cost of lugging around bags and pouches. Because spell components are used up during the casting, strategies are developed around what to cast when and when to use raw, internal energy versus components — the overly cautious hold onto heavy materials until the end of a campaign, while the reckless use their heavy artillery immediately to the peril of being out magic in dangerous situations.