Cutting across both arcane and divine magic are the eight* schools of magic. These schools help to organize spells into categories with similar qualities and represent the different ways they can take effect. Each school is associated with its own color, and the energies used to cast spells that fall under its umbrella all produce similarly hued effects.
*Universal is not technically a school, but simply a category for spells that do not fit anywhere else.
- Associated color: Yellow
- Iconic spells: protection from evil, dispel magic, antimagic field, banishment
Abjuration spells are primarily protective and defensive spells. They create physical or magical barriers to protect the caster and/or his allies from swords, spears, arrows, and other spells; to harm trespassers; or even to banish the subject of the spell to another plane of existence.
Conjurations bring manifestations of objects, creatures, or some form of energy to you; create healing energy; transport creatures (including the caster) or objects over great distances; or create objects (magical weapons and armor, or food and drink, for example) or effects on the spot.
Divination spells enable you to learn secrets long forgotten, to predict the future, to find hidden things, to foil deceptive spells, and to discover hidden information (sometimes called scrying).
- Associated color: Purple
- Iconic spells: charm person, confusion, sleep
Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior.
- Associated color: Red
- Iconic spells: magic missile, fireball, lightning bolt
Evocation spells manipulate energy or tap an unseen source of power to produce a desired end. In effect, they create something out of nothing. Many of these spells produce spectacular effects, and higher level evocation spells can potentially deal very large amounts of damage.
- Associated color: Orange
- Iconic spells: invisibility, mirror image, ghost sound
Illusion spells deceive the senses or minds of others. They cause people to see things that are not there, not see things that are there, hear phantom noises, or remember things that never happened. They come in five general types: figments, glamers, patterns, phantasms, and shadows.
- Associated color: Black
- Iconic spells: cause fear, animate dead, finger of death
Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force. While spells involving undead creatures make up a large part of this school, contrary to popular misconception, not all necromancy spells are inherently evil or negative.
Transmutation spells change the properties of some creature, thing, or condition. It can involve both changing one object or creature into another, or modifying the current properties of an existing object or creature.
- Associated color: Grey
- Iconic spells: wish, arcane mark, permanency
Universal spells have effects too broad to place into one class, or too useful for any specialist to consider forsaking. They can often perform multiple effects, or perform a very specific effect that does not fit into another category. Universal spells are not a school, per se, rather a catch-all for spells that don't fit anywhere else.