In a general sense, I prefer to keep the concept of unordinary feats to be considered supernatural rather than magic. Magic has a variety of perspectives and themes surrounding particular parameters, but not in a wide enough sense to be all-inclusive. Magic would be considered a subcategory under supernatural capability, although perhaps not all subcategories may work well with each setting or character.
If I were to currently attempt to label a foundational list of supernatural subcategories, I would say: magics, mystics, physics, psychics, and technics.
Magic would be innate, whereas mystics rely on an extrinsic source. Physics may rely on the manipulation of physical energy, whereas psychics are mental energy. Technics would rely on an extrinsic item, similar to mystics. Mystics, however, is deeply rooted with supernatural beings which essentially lend (give abilities that are not innate to the character) or augment capabilities (improve innate abilities beyond their standard potential).
Each category allows a character to be capable of various feats that mundane humans would not be able to achieve, such as floating in the air or willfully changing the flow of wind. However, I will not use this system of subcategories.
My Supernatural Definitions
Below is the list of central terms and simplified definitions from my perspective.
Keep in mind, this information is not necessarily for any rp. These are for how I would like to organize the metadata of my characters: information that I would hope to not have to include in an actual rp message or prompt unless necessary. Examples of metadata are the length of each strand of hair, the length in centimeters from the elbow to shoulder divided by the square root of a puppy's tail, or the exact hex color code of the character's kidney (ie #FF0033).
If it's going to be a tedious filler in any roleplay message, then I'm going to info dump all the supplementary stuff into blogs like this.
-3 Main Categories-
Supernatural skills are achieved via magic energy.
Supernatural skills are achieved via physical energy.
Supernatural traits are inherent qualities: passive or automatic.
-4 Main Mana Types-
"Vanilla" mana. Innate mana with no particular quality. There are various uses of mana in its basic state that would provide many advantages over someone who does not possess any supernatural feat. Arguably, this is also the most versatile and convenient category due to its minimalistic and straightforward nature.
"Elemental" mana. Mana of a particular attribute or theme, such as flame or frost. Branching away from traditional fantasy magic elements, some examples may also be blade, sun, physical, or spoken mana. Whichever way they're labeled and intended for is purely up to the writers.
"Algebraic" mana. The most famous example is magic/spell circles. Mathematical equations or various representations to enact supernatural feats would fall under this category. Other examples could be using poetry, dancing, hand signs, or chants to use magic.
While they may not be purely mathematical in nature, the communicative and methodological intentions are the same. An alternate name may be Figured Mana, however, these types of terms may end up causing further confusion.
"Synthesized" mana. While physical locations may be the most obvious source of energy, the underlying theme is an external source that supplements or grants supernatural capability to particular characters or items.
In Avatar the Last Airbender, Waterbenders tend to be strong at night when the moon works in their favor. Firebenders are stronger during the day when the sun is providing relentless heat. These are direct examples, but there are many more situations to apply to this category.
Mana is often regarded as the currency or embodiment of energy for magical occurrences. In my opinion, mana is a complex matter of energy that co-exists between multiple planes of existence. In other words, mana serves as a link between the physical and spiritual worlds, seemingly manifesting nothing into something.
The various technique, skills, aptitudes, and other factors relating to using mana varies on a case-by-case basis. Not all applications of magic are inherently one type of mana.
Just like how physical, mental, and emotional energy are all different concepts that require moderation and recovery over time, mana is a renewable source that requires moderation and recovery over time. Whether mana is physical, mental, spiritual, or anything else is up to speculation.
-2 Supernatural Gadget Types-
Worn or equipped with supernatural equipment that may be used or personally accessible to the character.
Objects that are bound/linked to a character's energy, but not permanently attached to their physical body, may fall under this category.
Permanently installed or embedded supernatural objects within a character. Cybernetic implantations or surgical vessels are common examples of this.
While the literal definition of Armamentarium is often attributed to medical and military affairs, I'm altering the perspective in a supernatural sense where the physical character permanently houses the various objects meant for particular tasks.
-Tiers/Ranks of Supernatural Feats-
At the moment, this is entirely irrelevant and subjective to the rp setting. Eventually, I may add malleable suggestions, but nothing that needs to be taken to heart.
-Additional Concepts of Supernatural Feats-
For now, the only concept I will explain is my perspective on the "science" behind enacting magical feats.
Mana is the currency of supernatural energy.
If a character has enough or can generate enough, then they may focus that energy. Generate.
The focusing of energy is synonymous with the gathering of energy, which begins to funnel or channel as intended. Focus.
The energy channels from various inner sources to pathways throughout the physical conductors. Channel.
After the mana is generated, gather, and channeled properly, then the intended feat may begin to occur. Manifest.
Blank state -> Generate mana -> Focus mana -> Channel mana -> Manifest capability
Arguably, focusing and channeling may be flipped or simultaneous. However, generation must come first if there isn't enough mana, and manifestation must always come last regardless of the exact process. If any of the middle steps are interrupted, then the intended effect may fail in various ways.
People may use some sort of arbitrary system to enforce fairness to prevent consistently optimal accomplishments or a relentless barrage of spontaneous abilities. Examples are a mana point system or a turn-based preparation system. With mana points, rp starts to work more like an RPG. With the turn-based preparation system, rp starts to work like a tactical competition. With other systems, anything can happen.
Ideally, I'd like to influence fairness and creativity without the need for systematic restrictions if my partner would allow it. However, systematic restrictions may help to establish boundaries and encourage creativity for aspiring role players.