NO IMMUNITY TO VIRUSES
This race CANNOT be immune to the super viruses which turns humans, humans with abilities, meta humans, and certain other original Earth inhabitants into vampires, werewolves, and zombies.
THE WIELDERS OF SPELLS AND POWER
Practitioners of magic are divided into many categories, but those with the title of Mage are among the most famed of all.
Also knows an Magus or Magi, Witches or Wizards, Spellweavers, or any number of other monikers, these men and women are the most 'traditional' wielders of magic, the inheritors of legends such as Merlin and Gandalf. Mages practice the most wide-ranging but difficult methods of harnessing mana. For a mage, the use of power is not an easy or instinctive act, it is a complicated weaving of rituals that requires complete understanding of the forces involved.
Mages are casters of formal spells, and as such a ritual must be involved. For many this is a shouted command - the literal magic words, or a chant they utter to help them focus the power they gather for their spells. Most magi rely on external sources of power, though there are some who rely more on the power of their own bodies, their 'ki', though the two methods have their tradeoffs. Once gathered, the power must be carefully directed to have the desired effect - if distracted during a complex spell, or one they are inexperienced with, it is quite possible for a mage's spell to backfire. The most experienced magi can cast spells with a gesture, or even while still, though performing such acts greatly increases the strain on their own bodies in order to harness the power.
A mage who overuses his or her power can suffer debilitating physical symptoms. Headaches are the most common, and the severity of symptoms ranges all the way from mild discomfort to death. These limits are extremely hard to know right off the bat for a mage just starting out - it is for this reason that there is a very high instance of death for mages attempting to train themselves without the help of experts, such as those in the Order of the First Light, or the ARMA group that was once a part of it.
Just as likely is the possibility that their power might rampage out of control once they have gathered it, wreaking havoc on the world. It is for this reason that mages who are unaffiliated with a major group that has the resources to train and protect a young mage are so rare.
Magi have a set of spells they are proficient in, much like a spellbook. All magi are capable of certain very basic spells, which are known as 'cantrips'. These include things like lighting magic lanterns, extremely minor acts of telekinesis, a 'sense' or ability to detect other magic used in their presence, etc. Cantrips do not need to be listed on a profile, but the other spells should be, grouped into Low, Medium, and High level spells based on the strain required on the Magi's body in order to cast them. Mages tend to focus on spells cast in one area, or one element, because specialization leads to greater strength in that area, though 'magic generalists' are possible, sacrificing mastery for variety.
Within reason, some spells may be chosen that are somewhat more general and may have multiple applications. The key here is 'within reason' - if a spell alters the flow of water, for instance, it need not always do so in exactly the same way. This allows the player some flexibility when using their powers in threads.
Rogue mages should not be considered a good option for a first character on this site due to their rarity and instability.
Not only humans have the ability to become mages. While metahumans who were once human are never mages, creatures of other races from across the veil such as the elves are often skilled in the use of this type of magic.
THE LEARNING PROCESS
For a Mage, the learning and development of new spells and powers is a difficult and complicated task. Beyond simply training as one would to learn a new physical skill, the casting of spells requires deep understanding of the principles being utilized. It is for this reason that magi are sometimes said to be scholars first and fighters second.
The true key is to understand not only how the phenomenon you wish to create is accomplished, but why for a normal person it is impossible. Once the difficulty is fully grasped, the magus can work toward determining how to use their magic to ease these difficulties, and eventually make the impossible a relatively simple task. Because of this, magi almost never learn new spells suddenly, or by accident. Newly developed abilities - especially ones very different from the other spells one already knows - are the product of long hours of research and often meditation.
Once the principle is 'unlocked', like any other skill the mage must practice the spell until they can work through their ritual quickly and efficiently enough for it to be used in battle.
Mana Field Attunement
A Mage, being trained in the art of manipulating the Mana field that permeates everything, is attuned to the field around them. This typically gives them a sense of how strong or weak the field is around them and what kind of effect it will have on their casting, and in some cases those most sensitive to it can even sense if magic has been or is actively being used in an area.
Mana Sight (Advanced)
More advanced Magi are capable of supplementing their senses with their attunement to the fields of Mana around them, most commonly done through the sense of sight, even in the case of rare blind Magi. This allows a mage to 'see' in terms of the mana of an area, giving them a greater ability to see through magical deception or to detect other active abilities being used in their immediate area. This ability is line-of-sight only.
Many Magus, with practice and training, can attempt minor, non-combative spells called cantrips. There is really no limit to the amount of times per day these cantrips can be mustered, since they are such small things. Typical examples are: lighting a candle or snuffing it out, minor telekinesis on small objects such as sliding a coffee cup across a table, and to cause an illusory sound, like a pebble dropping, in order to create a distraction.
UNTRAINED AND 'ROGUE' MAGI
As mentioned elsewhere, an untrained human with mage-level talent can be an extremely dangerous thing. Unlike Empowered Humans, whose powers are more regulated by their subconscious, the more fluid abilities of a Magus can be completely overtaken by their fears, their desires, their arrogance... without the proper training to harness and suppress the impulses that might give way to uncontrolled magic, an inexperienced magi can, wittingly or not, become an engine of terrible destruction. Whether by the creation of chaotic 'mana storms' or opening uncontrolled portals to the worst of the areas beyond the veil and giving unknown monsters access to the Earth, these people can be among the most dangerous on the planet.
As such, while it is the primary duty of the Order and ARMA, most groups who have undertaken the task of protecting the world from the worst of the supernatural will make the capture of rogue magi a priority - the difference being in how they are treated afterward. The Order has historically either executed these people or pressed them into service. ARMA, formed more recently and wary of the Order's draconic policies, has been known to take a softer approach to helping one control or suppress their power, though most still end up with the group. Rumor has it that more human-focused groups, such as Vanguard, may execute them on sight...
PRIMARY CLASSES OF MAGES
Mages (with one important exception, below) operate by gathering energy in from the outside world or bringing energy forth from their bodies to produce the amazing abilities they are known for. Fiction has well-established the major categories of mages, so we will not go in depth here, but for reference, here are a few that are used by the Order and ARMA. Crossovers and mixtures of these are more than possible:
Probably the most common type of mage, the elementalist focuses their talent and mana into the control of the naturally occurring elements of the world, generally derived from the basics - wind, water, fire, earth - though many variations are possible.
Once known simply as monks, these are the users of their inner chi or ki, generally for the purpose of enhancing their own physical abilities.
A.K.A. psychics or psions, these mages often produce no visible phenomena at all - their powers exist entirely within the mind. Telepathy, illusions, telekinesis, clairvoyance, and prescience are all aspects of this category.
Sub Class: Void Magus (Shadow Magician)
One of the more obscure and negatively connotated schools of magic is that of void or 'shadow' magic, a rare talent even among the higher levels of the Order. Shadow Magic is the term most commonly used by the public because of the appearance the spells take when cast - the manifestation of a Void Magus spell, rather than producing light as most spells do, has the effect of absorbing or obscuring it. This gives an appearance that suggests the spells are made of darkness or shadows, and has led to the misleading name of the school. The appearance of shadow is actually a mere side effect of the spell, not the source of it.
It is the nature of void magic to, as the proper name suggests, operate based on the absence of something rather than the addition. Where more traditional magic adds energy, void magic takes it away. In this manner, some elemental powers such as the talent of a water magus to freeze water, are in fact an application of void magic.
This is not to say that the applications of void magic are necessarily more limited than the more common magic, but it is applied in a different manner. Another aspect that leads to the misnaming of the school is the tendency of void magi to cast from within the shadows. The shadowy effect of their spells, just like the bright lights of other spells or the heat that comes off an old style incandescent light bulb, is actually wasted energy that takes away from the ability of the spell to perform its intended effect. Each spell can only absorb so much energy before it loses its composition, just like a 'normal' spell can only expend so much. For this reason, it is much easier for void magi to cast from dark places than bright ones - a weakness unique to their style of casting, though it comes with certain advantages. Primarily that, so long as they have darkness to work with, their endurance can exceed more traditional spellcasters - just as outside in a bright day their endurance is far less.
Void magic spells can be extremely varied. Most common is a form of telekinesis, leading to the shadowy tendrils most describe when they refer to shadow magic. Void magic requires a constant connection from the spellcaster to the effect being produced that traditional spells do not - as such, their telekinesis spells produce these dark tentacles. The primary limitation on void magic however is that it can never truly create energy - a void magus can summon neither light nor flame, nor produce a healing effect.
It should also be noted that one reason this school of magic is so rare is that serving as the 'sink' for the magic as all void magi must is an extremely dangerous activity. Allowing the magic too close to their body would allow it to drain their own life force and kill them. It is not necessarily unusual for a magus casting powerful spells to walk a razor's edge between success and painful death, but for the void magus, the threat is more prominent and insidious than for most others. Even an apparently successful spell might still drain them, and the cumulative effect over months or years of training may result in a very early death. A single catastrophically failed spell, however, may kill a prospective void magus instantly.
IMPORTANT NOTE ON ALL MAGES:
If they are infected with the Vampire Virus (nocturnaeximius-virus) or Lycanthrope Virus (lycaneximius-virus) the pathogens tend to randomize, change or even eliminate their magus abilities entirely. There is no way to predict this change, but even those infected lucky enough to preserve some of their power are generally left without the ability to perform structured spells, instead becoming something more akin to a HwA with a specific ability, usually that type of magic to which they were most strongly attuned. As an example, a magus specializing in fire spells might be left with some pyrokinesis ability, though always to a lesser degree than they once possessed. This is even more true for shifter werewolves, as the animal mind makes the focus required by magic nearly impossible. The z-virus will completely wipe out all magical ability, since powers of will cannot be utilized by a creature lacking higher brain functions.