I periodically return and review each of the Seven States of Magic because it’s important I understand what’s going on in my head at any given time — and how it’s changed from whatever the last thing I thought was there.

“Natural” magic presents all kinds of problems that are difficult to pronounce. It has to be the magic of Fighters and Warlords and stuff, but it also has to stretch suspension of disbelief to the point of being magic without breaking.

For over a year now, one of my assumptions about the nature of Natural magic was that it generally formed the basis of matter and was as such, Material magic. Anything that had to do with Natural magic therefor made things. Then breaking it would be conjuration — the magic of making something from nothing.

My work on Wizards from the 4e Player’s Handbook has had me doing a lot with conjuration lately, defining its boundaries and whatnot, and this morning I hit a serious snag — if conjuration is Natural magic, then Fighters are conjurers.

It doesn’t make sense, and that’s the problem. It didn’t seem like a problem on paper a year ago — but those were broad strokes, not practical applications. Facing the emergency, I reviewed my notes about the different magic types, the underlying principles, and my notes for the reasoning behind each.

It looked really bad.

Then completely by accident, I wrote something about magic violating “conservation” and that got me on a tack that took me from conjuration to evocation — and got me to reexamine conclusions I’d recently drawn about Fighters, Rogues, and the like — and put them in “magical context.”

See, the whole point behind the Seven States is to make the powers of character classes make sense in the context of the power sources that grant them. That’s all really. I started at the top and have been working my way down to classes.

Well actually, I’ve been hacking at the problem from both ends — working on power sources at the top level downward, and working on classes from the bottom level upward. It helps keep me sane, alternating between the two projects.

I still rewrote the magical concept underlying Natural magic, which is now “conservation,” but it means I can move “material” over to a much more-deserving state and eliminate one of the less palatable magical concepts (“challenge”).

The new idea is that Natural magic represents a kind of metaphysical status quo, and that violations of that status quo (in other words, “magic”) are “evocations.” They’re bursts of activity, “magical changes” that alter the balance or equilibrium of things. It’s like inertia and laws of motion, I suppose. Kind of.

Natural magic gives form to “stances,” which represent sudden, minute changing states within characters… weird, but “standing differently” is what I’m calling magical here. You could also say that movement, from jumping and flying to uh, falling, to falling down, are all expressions of Natural magic.

Maybe I am saying that inertia is magic. I don’t know.