Primal Magic

Magic is the lifeblood of Golarion. Yet in its raw form, magic is not an ordered force—it is the all-encompassing chaos of possibility. The same energies that can be shaped to create explosive fireballs, raise the dead, divine the future, heal the sick, and summon demons can do that and more without the direction of skilled spellcasters. Normally, this unfocused magical potential does not exist in reality; it lies beyond reality, where it waits to be tapped. Where exactly magic comes from remains a lively debate today, but when magic is unleashed without any attempt to focus it—when it leaks into the world in its raw form—the result is known as primal magic.

In some realms, particularly in planes like the Maelstrom or the Abyss in the Great Beyond, magic is left to indulge in its raw chaos as it wishes—here, primal magic is often called “wild magic.” On the Material Plane, the world feels the touch of primal magic when the laws of reality themselves have been damaged, as in the case of the Mana Wastes, which lie between the nations of Nex and Geb. Here, magic flows in unpredictable tides and currents. At one moment, a region in the Mana Wastes might function normally while at another, magic won’t function at all. Usually, though, primal magic holds sway.

Manifestations of primal magic tend to build up potential before they explode into existence. Just as a thunderstorm doesn’t constantly lance the ground below with a constant beam of lightning, these bolts manifest periodically and almost randomly. And just as lightning can be called with lightning rods, primal magic can be purposefully or accidentally drawn out by utilizing magic in areas where such energies are building.

When primal magic manifests, roll on the Sample Primal Magic Events table on page 13 to determine what occurs. As the primal magic exerts its power, consider crossing off the effect that occurs and designing replacement events and effects. If you want primal magic to play a big role in your campaign, you should try to ensure that no two effects are ever quite the same. One easy way to achieve this is to simply substitute random spell effects with unusual descriptions in place of normal ones, such as a black fireball that smells of roses and deals acid damage.

Spontaneous primal magic effects can occur in a region like the Mana Wastes as often or as infrequently as you wish, but as a general rule, try to limit the effects to one per combat encounter at most. The majority of primal magic effects should instead occur when creatures