Terra Incognita

Frazer's World


by Terry Carlino

In 1890 the greatest theoretical theurgist of the modern era, Sir James George Frazer, published his breakthrough description of sympathetic magic, The Golden Bough. Like his 20th century pupil Albert Einstein, Frazer possessed not a whit of the genetic makeup that would let an adept use the power of the universal mana to directly manipulate the laws of magic. His contribution was to codify the first two laws of magic. The direct result of Frazer's work was the advancement of magic from a poorer cousin of the burgeoning sciences to the preeminent roll in man's mastery of physical world, and his march into the modern age.

The principles of magic can best be described as embodied in the Law of Similarity and the Law of Contagion. These are systematized versions of the manipulations of symbols to cause effects in the physical world.

Basically, the Law of Similarity says that like produces like. So if a magician wishes to make it rain he can create a model of a location and use a sprinkling can of water to create an effect similar to rain and it will rain in that location. Except, of course, it won't.

That is where the Law of Contagion comes in. This law says that things which have once been in contact will continue to act, one on the other, after physical contact has been severed. So our magician, to achieve the effect he desired, must fill his watering can with rainwater -- that is, water collected directly from a rainstorm. Then he can cause a storm, limited to the time he can continue to pour the rainwater on his model.

Of course, Frazer did not merely state these laws; he mathematically inferred them, using the sigil representations he developed, most scholars agree, based on work he did while in Greece.

Any adept with a hope of being able to do magic must master at least a working knowledge of the laws of magic. Anyone hoping to create new magic techniques or devices must have a deep mastery of theoretical magic.


The introduction of magic into a world already mastering the physical sciences had a profound effect. Frazer's work was quickly verified by scientists and students of the occult throughout the western world.

The existence of magic had a great effect on the dominance of the wider world by western civilization. Already technologically inferior, the fairly ineffective hedge magic of the indigenous peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Asian continent allowed strategic dominance by Western Europe and the Americas.

Advances in the United States in the mass production of enchanted articles was quickly copied in Europe, especially in Britain and the German Empire. This resulted in a magical arms race. Many times during the next decades the nations of Europe almost went to war.

However, the presence of magic as often prevented war as pushed the nations of Europe closer to it, as is attested by the attempted assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Only the presence of his wife, Sophie, Herzogin von Hohenberg, a master magician, prevented a sure death and most surely a bloody war. The rapid discourse allowed via enchanted communication devices allowed war to be averted. Another side effect of Archduchess Sophia's actions was annulment of her morganatic marriage by the Vatican to allow a dynastic marriage, which resulted in the eventual ascension of their son Archduke Maximilian to the throne of Austria-Hungary-Croatia.

The peace was finally broken in 1933 when the National-Socialist German Workers Party seized power in German in response to Pius XI's 1932 encyclical Ob Magicum. The Vatican's acceptance of magic has been attributed to the progressive Jesuit Superior General Wlodimir Ledochowski, who had close ties to the Austrian aristocracy, as well as a strong strain of magery in his family. His sister was Saint Ursula Julia Ledchowska, foundress of the Congregation of Ursuline Magus Sisters of Agonizing Heart of Jesus, an order of magician clerics.

The Nazi attempts to seize power in the Triune Monarchy was initially taken through Englebert Dolfuss, who attempted to insinuate himself into the government of King Maximillian. Dolfuss was assassinated by elements of the Austrian Secret Police based on information obtained from Serbian nationalists.

The failure of the National-Socialist Party to seize power in Austria-Hungary-Croatia did not prevent them from persecuting adepts in Germany. The so called "religious wars" resulted in the establishment of concentration camps where mages and Jews were sent. Especially persecuted were clerical magicians, who were seen by the Nazi party as especially dangerous to the Government's ability to control information and as being unreliable, due to their connection to the Vatican.

The World War broke out when the Nazi German government moved overtly against the Triune Monarchy of Austria-Hungary-Croatia in 1938. The Germans were repelled by the might of The Magic Defenders of The Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen. Germany quickly harnessed the talents of its captive magical population, turning its concentration camps into work camps where hapless mid-level mages were guarded by demons bound to the service of the Reich.

British support of the German move, based primarily on support of King George V of the suppression of both Catholics and adepts, extended the conflict into a wider war. France came to the support of the Triune Monarchy, as did Italy. The Russian Empire, which coveted lands along the Hungarian-Ukraine border, and which had long repressed its non-clerical adepts, entered on the German side in 1940.

The United States, at first a neutral provider of enchantments to both sides, joined on the side of the Triune Empire after the discovery of the famous Zimmermann dispatch, an encoded message being carried by a familiar to the German Ambassador in Canada, instructing her to propose an alliance with English Canada promising financial assistance in restoration of its former territories in Quebec and additional territory in New York and Michigan. The message itself was intercepted by Austrian agents and quickly passed to the Quebec and American governments.

With combat taking place on every continent, from the North American Great Lakes to the Indian subcontinent, the casualties among both the mundane and the adept were horrendous. Under the encouragement of his former student, the Hungarian-American master magician Le Szilrd, Albert Einstein sent his famous letter to President Joseph P. Kennedy urging the study of the advanced planar/apportation spell, under fears that the Nazi government would be the first to develop the ability to apportate hellfire from another plane. The development of these basic elemental weapons became the massive Oak Ridge project carried on in the research laboratory on Manhattan's Randall Island.

The United States use of this spell against the German city of Dresden and the Russian city of Volgograd in 1947 ended the war, but at horrific loss of life. Britain was able to make a separate peace in 1946, though it lost a good part of its western Canadian lands to the United States and of its eastern Canadian lands to Quebec. With the loss of India to American OSS (Office of Special Sorceries) backed rebels and its African territories (picked up in the early 1900s from the decaying Ottoman Empire) to the Vatican backed Italians, the British Empire effectively came to an end.

Frazer's World now sets in an uneasy period of reconstruction. The 1950s see Germany split between the American occupation force in the east and the French occupation force in the west. Italy is generally unhappy with this state of affairs, as the French government is not especially friendly to the Vatican. The 1956 election of Joseph P. Kennedy Junior, a decorated war veteran, master magician, and Catholic, speaks well for continuing good relations between the Italian Papal States and the United States. Russia was much too big for the Triune Empire to swallow, and -- though unhappy with the American forces arrayed on their border -- console themselves with the Slavic lands of Ukraine and Bellorussia. A shaky Russian Monarchy still holds its trained adapts in special villages and ghettos, while pressuring the Church to limit its number of magicians.


The following individuals other than Frazer were key individuals in the development of the modern magical world.

Thomas Alva Edison

Edison started out working in the mundane sciences. He was one of the first to apply the principles of mass production to magical as well as mundane research, though he himself was only a mediocre magician.

His first mundane patent, the electric voice recorder, was granted in 1868. In 1876 he set up his Menlo Park Laboratory. In 1883 he hired Frank J. Sprague, an accomplished mathematician and engineer. In 1884 Nikola Tesla also came to Edison's New Jersey plant. Though both men only did mundane research for Edison during this period, which was prior to the publication of Frazer's research, both were later to make significant contributions to the study of Theurgy. Both left Edison's employ prior to 1890.

Edison prevailed on Frank J. Sprague to rejoin his organization in 1891 to investigate the new magical phenomenon detailed in Frazer's papers. Eventually Edison was award no less than 47 magical patents, truly the "Wizard of Menlo Park."

In 1891 Tesla also established his 35 South Fifth Avenue laboratory to investigate Sympathetic Magic. His work in this area was always groundbreaking, though in his later years Tesla became known as a Dark Magician. Though Tesla's official record ascribes his date of death as January 1943 there have been rumors for decades that he was still alive. What is known is that after his reported death the Federal Bureau of Investigation instructed the Office of Magical Affairs to take possession of his papers and property from his rooms at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The present location of these articles is unknown, though they might be in one of the Smithsonian Institution's private storerooms.

Albert Einstein

In 1891, Albert Einstein taught himself Euclidean plane geometry and calculus at the age of 16. In 1894 he began studying Frazer's work, and in 1895 performed his famous thought experiment known as Einstein's mirror, which became the bridging postulate on the interaction of the Laws of Similarity and Contagion which he would later be formalized in special relativity.

In 1900 Einstein wrote his first paper titled Folgerungen aus den hnlichkeittserscheinungen ("Consequences of the observations of similarity phenomena").

Einstein's lack of any magical ability prevented him from finding a teaching post, despite his grasp of theoretical magic. The father of a classmate helped him obtain a employment at the Swiss Patent Office in 1902, where he served as a technical assistant examiner for magical inventions. (See the section on magical patents.)

In 1903 Einstein married Meleve Maric, who was both a talented theurgist and an accomplished master magician.

He obtained his doctorate in 1905 with Eine neue Ermittlung der Ansteckung ("A new determination of Contagion"). That same year he wrote several papers, one of which was on special relativity (that is, on the interaction of the Laws of Similarity and Contagion).

Most interestingly enough, though Einstein is better known for his work on relativity, it was his work in apportation that garnered him the Nobel Prize.

In 1915 Einstein presented his explanation on his theory of magical binding, known as general relativity.

The religious wars in German in the 1930s caused Einstein to emigrate to the United States, where he was teaching as a guest professor at Princeton University. He accepted a position at the Institute for Advanced Magical Study in Princeton Township.

Einstein spent his time working on a unified field theory, whose purpose was to unify the laws of magic with the laws of physics. This was a universal mathematical approach to reducing the different phenomena to a coherent whole. He was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempts. He died in 1955 leaving the Generalized Theory of Fundamental Forces unsolved, or at least unpublished.

Henry Ford

Ford first worked with Edison in the perfection of magical devices. In 1903 he raised $28,000 in capital and started the Ford Enchantment Company. He perfected the process by which mages of poor to mediocre talents could produce devices with multiple enchantments via the use of the assembly line. This allow device which up to this time had to be produced by time intensive labor of master magicians to be mass produced.

The World

Magical Patents

Magical patents are granted on the basis of enchantments of magical objects. The most common of magical elements, binding compound, was made unpatentable, at least in the United States, by the Magical Properties Act of 1922. In order to secure a patent it must be proved that the enchanted item was produced using a magical method which could be followed by a person skilled in the art to make and use the item and which is not already either patented or in the public domain. In some countries, like the United States, it must also be novel, non-obvious, and useful, most notably for industrial application.


Frazer's World is a high mana world. For game purposes fully 2/3 of the population can be considered to have Magery at some level. Most have Magery 0. Anyone working as a magician should have at least Magery 2. A Master Magician will have at least Magery 4 as well as a new skill, theurgy, the Sympathetic Magic version of Thaumatology.

Theurgy (IQ/Very Hard)
Default IQ-6 Mathematics-4

This is the academic study of Sympathetic Magic. Anyone can learn this skill, and it is not easier for mages. Anyone can learn the elements of common spells, but unless they possess a high level of Theurgy they will be unable to create new spells. Theurgy is a highly mathematical skill, akin to quantum physics or nuclear engineering.

In the modern western world the study and use of magic is regulated. Testing of magical ability is routinely done while a child is still in elementary school. By high school it is quite common for programs to divide adepts of mediocre talents and mundanes from those destined to pursue more advanced study. A number of trade schools and vocational programs prepare low-level mages for work in the many enchantment factories which turn out the magical products that drive the U.S. and European economies. While many mundanes and less-interested adepts go on to study the mundane arts and sciences, it is a rare mundane who get a slot in the programs of the well-known programs of the top Theurgy Universities like MIT and William & Mary.

A PhD in Theurgy is not a prerequisite for a master magician's certification, but one would have to be very talented indeed to succeed in passing the Inquiry without one. In the United States every state but Virginia and South Columbia requires that an aspirant for a master magician's certification have a doctorate from a recognized university program. In those states a journeyman is still allowed to apprentice to an individual master for a proscribed time before facing the Inquiry, in lieu of university education.

A journeyman's license is all that is required to practice common magic and is easily obtained through any number of trade schools or the Magic Practitioners Union.

Most clerical magicians are certified through the church and their ability to practice is recognized by most governments under the Treaty of Montreal.

The Magician's Toolbox

Sympathetic magic requires that the practitioner use a number of otherwise mundane objects to achieve a magical effect. In this it is very like ritual magic. To cast a spell a sympathetic magician typically uses a combination of a wand or other focusing device, an incantation (either verbal or mental), and a number of mundane objects which fulfill the requirements of the Laws of Similarity and Contagion. These mundane objects are divided into two types. The elements are the object which fulfill the requirements of the Laws of Similarity and Contagion. For example, to prove that a bullet has been fired from a specific firearm the practitioner would need the bullet and the gun. This kind of spell is the most basic example of the Law of Contagion and simply requires the firearm be solidly held, as in a vice, and the bullet be able to return to the gun, and that the adept use a wand to focus the mana and a word to control it.

A more complicated spell -- such as one which would sever the contact between the bullet and the gun -- would require that the mage use a sharp knife, preferably of silver, to symbolically cut the connection. The knife is not itself a magical item, though it will work better if it is not also used for mundane tasks.

Professional magicians will always make their own tools. The task of creating the mundane object is relevant to its use in the magic. A magician could attempt to perform the spell of dissociation with a dull kitchen knife, but the spell might not work. It almost certainly would be detectable by a another magician.

A common magician's tool kit would contain the following items:


Common Spells

Common spells are the most basic ones, and are likely to be known by all mages. More powerful spells require higher levels. Mages cast spells at base skill, provided they have the correct elements. If they lack the elements they can not cast at all. If they must use elements which have been previously put to mundane use, rather than their own tools, they are at a -3 penalty. High skill increases the chance of success of a spell, but still requires the proper elements. Sympathetic magic has some of the aspects of Ritual Magic. Magic is not divided into colleges, and on Frazer's World other kinds of magic do not exist. Clerical magicians in this case do not refer to practitioners of religious ritual magic; it merely refers to members of the church, especially the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches who study Sympathetic Magic. Both churches have both individuals and orders who concentrate on the study of magic. Other churches may have mages, but their formal position in the church is less related to it.

Elements are typically divided into mundane and enchanted. The most common enchanted elements of spells are a wand and binding compound. Most other elements are mundane.


Binding is the process by which two dissimilar objects, which must have at least one aspect in common are joined such that they will come under the sway of the Law of Similarity. It requires a wand, binding compound, the object to be bound and a sample of the target object. Common aspect can be material (wood for wood, metal to metal), shape (doll or homunculus to human, sphere to planet), function (rope to bind, spell to bind), etc.


This is the process by which object which are joined by the Law of Contagion can be separated. It requires a length of hemp and a sharp silver knife.


Enchantment is the process by which a mundane substance is endowed with mana force. It is the process for creating a magic item. Enchantments are performed using the rules from page 481 of the Basic Set, except Sympathetic Magic is used instead of Ritual Magic. Many items on Frazer's World are produced using mass production, which means adept factory workers with magery 1 or 2 labor in groups; these groups are fairly large in most modern factories so it's quite possible for a factory of 1,500 workers to produce 15 100 point magical devices in one day. Magic device are not rare. Enchantment requires the same mundane and magical elements required to cast the spell.

Air Spells

Purify air: Requires a vessel of air.

Create air: Requires a vessel of air and a fan.

Body Control Spells

Itch: Requires a homunculus, pepper or other abrasive substance, and something which as been in contact with the subject.

Pain: Requires a homonculus, a sharp object and something which as been in contact with the subject.

Hinder: Requires a homonculus, length of hemp line.

Deathstrike: Requires a homunculus, a sharp or blunt object, and something which as been in extended contact or was once part of the subject. This is a VH spell and will not penetrate a ward.

Fire Spells

Create fire: Requires a prism and a light source, or a magnifying glass and the sun (fire is started as a mundane fire but through Law of Similarity creates a large blaze remotely). Often a brazer is used to contain the fire.

Extinguish fire: Requires a stick or other flammable material and a vial of water.

Cold: Requires an ice cube or other small cold object.

Gate Spells

Planar summons: Requires something which has been in extended contact with the being to be summoned. The entity can appear bound using the proper binding spell.

Plane shift: Requires an object from the destination plane and a wand. This is a VH spell.

Healing Spells

Lend vitality: Requires a hemp rope, a knife (preferably silver) and a source, usually another living being (or the caster)

Healing: Requires a wand, binding compound and a source, usually another living being or the caster.

Knowledge Spells

Detect magic: Requires a magnifying glass.

Aura: Requires a magnifying glass and prism.

Seeking Spells

Locate object: One of the most basic of spells. Requires a needle, (typically in a compass frame, but not magnetized) and a piece of the object to be located.

Advanced locate object: Requires a needle as above, binding compound, a wand, and an object of the same nature as the one to be located.

Identify Spells

These require a magnifying glass and a prism.

Light and Darkness Spells

Light: Requires a wand and a mirror.

Continual light: Requires a wand, a mirror, and a prism.

Darkness: Requires a dark cloth and a prism.

Blur: Requires a lens and a white cloth.

Meta Spells

Counterspell:: Requires binding compound, a wand, a mirror and the elements of the spell your are tying to counter.

Dispel magic: Requires a wand and a metal dowel. The rod is sank into the ground. Can also use an existing metal object like a pipe or building frame with the usual penalties for use of a mundane object.

Movement Spells

Apportation: Requires a feather, a piece of the material to be moved or a similar material, a wand, and binding compound.

Lockmaster: Requires a key, binding compound, and a wand.

Banish: Requires an element of the home dimension or plane of the creature that the adept is trying to banish.

Protection and Warning Spells

Wards: Requires a way to circumscribe an exclusion area. Chalk or even a rope or line can be used. For protection against mundane threats a simple circle or arc will suffice. A power sigil, such as a pentagram, is required to protect against mystical beings or forces.

Bind: Requires the same elements as wards, but holds something in instead of keeping it out.

The creation of binding compound is an advanced type of magic requiring mastery of Enchantment. It is almost always created in factories and purchased for use by magicians at Magery Shops. Strictly speaking binding compound is not used up in performing magic, but under most circumstances it is not economical to recover. Factories, though have systems to recover and reuse binding powder, typically only replacing a small amount to make up for the inevitable losses during magic production.

Water Spells

Seek Water: Same as a locate spell using water as its element.

Purify water: Requires a vial of pure water.

Creating Spells

For a master magician the creation of new spells can be a long and dangerous endeavor. New spells are created using the technology invention rules from Chapter 17 of the Basic Set. The GM can create a new spell by using the Laws of Similarity and Contagion -- that is, by imaginatively tying together things which have similarities and constructing ways in which they come in contact, either metaphorically or physically.

Where Does Infinity fit In?

Magical worlds always leave Infinity uncomfortable. Magical worlds with Nazis even more so. The Penetration Service did not arrive on Frazer's World until 1952. There is no doubt that some of the Nazi war criminals escaped capture by the Triune Alliance, but did they escape to South America or to some other alternate, with perhaps outworld help?

As a Q4 world it is not easily accessible to Centrum. The world's odd, non-standard magic has confounded both Infinity's ISWAT mages and several Cabal members, who've found themselves stranded. The world's high mana levels resist efforts to tap it using conventional or even common ritual magic. Whether psionic worldjumpers could leave Frazer's World is still an unanswered question.

Infinity has only been operating on the alternate for five years. They have not opened it up to commercial exploitation; the locally made enchanted devices will not work on other alternates anyway. The U.S. tapping of energies from beyond this world makes UNIC nervous, but all transdimensional apportation research is classified. Both the French and the Triune Monarchy are trying to duplicate the research or steal it. Infinity is not anxious to jump in the middle of that spy game.

Outworld Operations

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!

ISWAT would like to get a look at advanced apportation research, to see if it has application for crosstime travel. The risk has been too great, but recently they've found a physicist on another line who is an alternate of one of the mundane theurgists working on a new version of the weapon spell, Richard Feynman. Feynman accidentally discovered the Secret and has been co-opted by ISWAT rather than sent to Covenrty. The agents find Feynman brilliant, but undisciplined. Is he brilliant enough to fool the mages on Frazer's World?

The Lost Generation

A scout collecting data in Quebec begins to suspect outworld smuggling when he finds a copy of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms in the science fiction section of a bookstore. He reports to his local contact via drop but then disappears. A week later his body is found in an alley in Buffalo, New York. Time to send in a group of I-Cops!

Almost Reich 7?

Before the discovery of Frazer's World nine out of nine experts would have sworn that the National Socialist German Workers Party could not develop without the crucible of World War I and the onerous terms imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Frazer's World had neither. The few experts who have been consulted would have bet that the Ottoman Empire would have ended up on the other side of any world war the the Triune Monarchy rather than Germany. But then none of them know about Reich 5.

Local Finds

The FBI's Office of Magical Affairs was folded into the Central Intervention Agency by the National Security Act of 1947. During the reorganization many of Tesla papers were lost, misplaced or stolen. The Agency wants them back. The CIA's mandate does not extend to domestic work, so any agents assigned will have to worry about the FBI, possible foreign agents and maybe a dark magician or two.

The third world has always lagged behind in magical talent. In the post-war world more than a few mercenary magicians have decided to try their luck in Africa, South America, or Asia. Some of the natives have been playing catch-up and are not the hedge magic pushovers they might have once been, making them perfect for a pulp adventure with a little Sympathetic magic added.

Any group of Frazer's World natives might find themselves going against Infinity. Logic would dictate that Sympathetic Magic would not work elsewhere, but Infinity has found that logic often does not come in to play where magic is concerned. Thus a really good master magician might find herself propositioned by ISWAT once he knows too much, or have the chance to find out if Coventry really is mana free.

Article publication date: November 10, 2006

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