Magic, the ability or quality that allows one to alter reality in a supernatural way, permeates every facet of life in NewGen. Magic exists as a hidden, untapped well of force and energy that is adjacent and bound to the Prime Material Plane. It exists as a subtle force of nature that sometimes 'bleeds through', even when not summoned or shaped by a sentient mind. These occurances are always raw, chaotic and spontaneous.
The vast majority of magic's use is the kind that is intentionally called forth and shaped into a particular use. The wizard casting a Fireball, the Artificer creating a wand and the cleric casting a healing prayer are all examples of this standard use of magic. The Cleric's power, however, is slightly different in the fact that the cleric herself is not the owner nor controller of the magic, she is merely requesting a service from her patron deity, and the deity is, through simple force of will, using magic to enact the request.
Another distinct use of magic is that of the Soul Mage (Sorcerer). These individuals, along with Bards and a few other classes, have an personal connection with magic that is empowered by little more than their own will. Whereas Wizards use complex, codified spells to shape the magical energy around them, Soul Mages have an internal wellspring of magic, a small fissure that is open directly to magic itself, that they must simply release and shape into whatever form they desire, as it pours out of them. These individuals have more of a pool of power to draw from than Wizards, but they lack the flexibility and diversity of choice than the more learned practitioners.
Occasionally, through processes unknown, magic will coalesce into a solid, physical form. This form is black, crystalline, slightly translucent and emites a soft blue glow in darkness. Onyx, as it is called, can be utilized in all manner of magical situations, including powering spells on the fly and as 'batteries' or enhancements to magical weapons, tools or equipment. Indeed, the airships of the world would not be viable without this ready power source.
As mentioned above, Onyx can be used to power spellcasting. A caster who grips a piece of onyx while casting can draw magical power from the onyx and use it in place of their own MPs or spell slot. This is a slightly taxing action that requires extra concentration, but a variety of available Feats can make it faster and/or more efficient.
Artificers, and even the normally non-magical Aragonians, use Onyx as a primary means of powering their inventions and constructs. By having a central Onyx 'battery' or 'core' and 'traces' (thin lines of magically conducive Onyx) that run to the essential parts of the device, an item can be imbued with magical purpose. Aragonians are the leaders of this technology and use it to construct their airships, their articles of war and defense and select aspects of their advanced civic infrastructure.