Magic in Suburban Senshi is the shorthand word for the invocation or manipulation of forces beyond the ken of everyday mortal awareness. There are as many forms of practicing magic as there are magical practitioners, and to thoroughly index them all may as well copy-paste from a list of the world's religions and video games. This page is intended to provide a broad overview of the magical systems of practice in practical play; exceptions frequently exist.
Magic As Resource
Several magical practices draw on a stock of inner fuel to power their desired changes. This inner reserve is usually replenished in full with a good night's rest, but can sometimes also be recharged by potions, elixirs, or other devices. Magic As Resource usually draws on either mana or spiritual energy, but sometimes can convert the one to the other.
Magic with Mana
When most denizens of The HOTEL speak of magic, they are referring to the use of mana to achieve desired effects.
Vancian magic comes in two flavors: arcane, which derives from the use of background magical energy, and divine, which flows from a spiritual or divine patron. Arcane magic can come from extensive training, education, and intellect (wizards), or from some quirk inherent to the individual and their force of personality (sorcerers). Divine magic usually comes to chosen worshipers initiated into secret mysteries and shaped by their willpower and intuition, and access to it is dependent upon the worshiper's continued good faith with their patron.
Magical spells are classified by circle or level, with more experienced and talented magicians able to access higher circles than novitiates or less-capable users. Spells can usually only be cast a limited number of times per day before the magician must rest or renew their personal energy. The use of magic requires discipline, concentration, and focus; a spell miscast can simply fizzle without effect, but can also release terrible energies in unpredictable, often-lethal ways.
Simon Kerrick is a Vancian sorcerer.
Fantasia: Black, White, Blue, Time, and Summon Magic
Fantasia is a name I just made up that encompasses most magical practices seen in video games. Fantasia magicians are usually born with an aptitude for one or more archetypes of mana manipulation, or gain one through intensive study or supernatural experience. Spells are learned either by book-learning, or by field work and proverbial level gains. Most Fantasia mages classify magic and (and the magicians who practice it) by its origins and effects, and most Fantasia magic has a direct combat application.
One of the most frequent classification systems is by colors. Yin-Yang magic divides spells and magicians into black and white magic. Black magic is offensive or destructive by its very nature (though not inherently evil) and frequently aspected to an element -- usually fire, lightning, or ice, but other elements are common. White magic is defensive or helpful, either enhancing one's allies or preventing enemy attacks; white magic is also usually the sole source of sacred (i.e., holy) elemental attacks. Other colors of magic sometimes coexist with the above. Blue magic is a catch-all collection of magic, usually wielded by monsters and their kin, that usually requires the magician to endure (and survive) the attack to learn and then use it. Time magic usually consists of 'support' spells that would otherwise fall under Black or White magic. Summon magic calls up spirits or monsters to perform a particular preternatural effect before dismissing them. So-called Red Mages use both black and white magic spells, though seldom to the same proficiency as magicians focused in one or the other.
Pentarchal magic is another color-classification scheme. Pentarchal magic comes from one (or more) of five colors of mana: black (death, decay, corruption), blue (illusion, knowledge, misdirection), green (life, physical vigor, strength), red (chaos, fire, destruction), and white (purity, unity, nobility). Pentarchal magicians are attuned to one or more of the five colors of mana, and can cast a variety of spells that fuel artifice, bind other beings to their service, or have other, shorter-term effects.
Fantasia magicians generally draw from a reserve of internal magical energy or from a Vancian-like system of spells per day, but some are able to repeatedly cast spells without end in the right conditions (see Magic as Method below). While Fantasia magicians must concentrate and focus to cast spells, the consequence of interrupted magic is seldom more dangerous than an unimpressive fizzle of gathered energy.
The Astral powers of the Lupa are both internal and external. One can use one's own power, and also channel it from the environment or receive it from others. While it can be used without training, being intuitive and accessible, it is best used when honed and developed by practice and exercise. It should also be noted that Lupa do not consider this magic, but a natural skill some of their people posses. In the Lupa world, magic is defined as using a "supernatural" like power to achieve something one cannot do on one's own.
Magic with Life or Spirit Energy
The vast majority of superhuman martial arts, from Turtle School to Iron Soul, use ki or some other life or spirit energy to achieve the kind of feats seen in wuxia and anime. This category also includes religious Taoist and Hindi practices that seeks to regulate or transform one's life energy.
Magic As Method
Magic as Method covers all forms of magic that are enacted by simple procedures or rotes that come down to cause and effect: the magician calls, and the universe answers. This is, of course, more complicated than flipping a switch or pulling a lever, or everyone would be doing it: the aforementioned 'call' generally requires some combination of a proper mindset, ritual tools, incantation, time, and place to be fully enacted.
Most religions sanctify one or more forms of 'magical' practice, whether that be meditation, prayer, diet, or behavior. Efficacious results are seldom guaranteed; the spiritual purpose of the practice is generally to put the practitioner in a respectful mindset than it is to extort the divine for favors.
The Wizarding World
Magic as practiced by the Wizarding World is a matter of conditions. Were you born with magic? Do you have a wand (used by most practitioners, but not among certain groups)? Do you know the right words and gestures to cast a spell? Are you experiencing the right mental state? If so, you can cast the spell until your feet fall off, so long as you can maintain the proper conditions. Distractions usually mean no effect is produced, but can also have terrible consequences.
For better or worse, a great deal of Mythos magic is reproducible science, requiring only the right time, place, and ritual to perform. Accomplished Mythos magicians often also learn some form of magic-as-wellspring, especially those tutored by powerful Grimoires.
Myriad spirits and preternatural entities inhabit the cosmos of Suburban Senshi. Daemonology, from the Greek daemon, is the study of traffick with these spirits, whether they be faerie, infernal, divine, or simply alienist, and can be used to communicate, conjure, entreat with, summon, bind, control, or otherwise exploit the knowledge and prowess of these entities. This category frequently blends into Religious Magic and Mythos Sorcery, and includes both the real-world practices of Kabbalah as well as the demon-summoning practices used by Kaelyn Vanternass. Arguments can be made that the Pactio and Pactio-like practices are an extension of Daemonologist study.