Shielding is one of the most basic and essential powers that a mage can learn. It creates an invisible, skin-tight barrier around the mage that blocks attacks, whether they be physical or magical. The greater the skill of the mage and the greater the amount of nitor they devote to the shield, the more harm it can withstand.
Shields will gradually lose integrity as they sustain continued attack. Repeated attacks to a single section of the shielding in a short period of time can cause the attacks to partially break through, if they don't break the shielding altogether. Most mages will reinforce and repair their shielding by pumping more Nitor into it, but when the shielding does break it will usually result in magical backlash, in the form of a headache and nausea, though experienced mages can withstand the backlash and only suffer minor disorientation.
Mages can also use shielding to survive an impact at terminal velocity, such as if they fall from a long distance or get blown clear by an attack. Shields prevent the forces of inertia from affecting the mage, allowing them to survive the impact without ill effect. However, any inertia already affecting the mage before they raise their shielding does not get cancelled out by the shielding: the mage must rely on their own magic or wind resistance in order to shed inertia. Assuming they are not carrying excessive inertia upon impact, the mage will survive the impact unharmed, provided the shielding survives the impact.
Depending on skill and the amount of nitor used, mages can also perform a variety of tricks with their shielding.
- Baleful Shielding: punishes close-range attackers by striking them with a proximity blast from the shield's energy. may also harm anything that touches the shielding
- Filtered Shielding: prevent harmful gases or particles from passing through the shield. can also block liquids, harmful wavelengths of light, and nuclear radiation.
- Shaped Shielding: protects a larger area with a shield shaped into a sphere, dome, or a flat wall
- Ablative Shielding: spreads the energy of the attack out over the surface of the shield, distributing it to prevent localized failure.
- Deflective Shielding: causes projectile attacks and magic blasts to be knocked away from the barrier instead of simply weathering the impact.
- Interceptive Shielding: compresses the shielding into a smaller disc that intercepts and blocks incoming threats, in order to conserve nitor
- Enervation Shielding: absorbs the nitor from blocked magical attacks, or enervates the nitor from close-range attackers
- Holographic Shielding: redirects light striking the shield, causing it to pass to the other side as though it passed through empty space, rendering whatever is inside the shielding invisible.
- Reflective Shielding: same as deflective shielding, but it causes attacks to be sent back where they came from.