Magic is a power in the Phantasy Star universe. Although very similar to techniques, magic spells are fundamentally different from the former in that the ability to cast magic is an inherited trait that must be passed down the family line. Since magic potential is a dominant genetic trait, anyone can cast magic spells so long as someone in their family had the ability to do so, although people born with mixed blood must undergo training in order to fully utilize their magical potential.
Magic spells are closely tied to their user's mental power. Higher stats mean offensive spells deal more damage or instantly defeat enemies, depending on the nature of the spell. Since magic spells are an inherited ability, these spells can be cast without the aid of a staff.
Magic spells predate techniques. Most humans that could cast magic spells were either those training to become espers or leading members of society, such as the royal family or warlords. After his misadventures with Alis Landale in space, the legendary esper Lutz used his experience in the arts in order to create a more generalized form of magic that anyone can learn to use regardless of genetic affinity. Upon his return to Algol in AW 345, Lutz originated common techniques seen in present times, such as foi and wat.
By around the AW 2200's, however, many humans lost the ability to use magic. From then on, magic potential remained mostly restricted to people training in the Esper Mansion on planet Dezolis. To the rest of humanity in the Algol star system, magic essentially ceased to exist, becoming a myth despite techniques now widespread among most scholars and hunters. Those who could cast forbidden magic became pejoratively known as magicians or fake magicians.
In Other Games
Phantasy Star Online 2
While not part of the game mechanics, the existence of Magic is alluded multiple times in PSO2, generally thought as a form of power much higher than mere Techniques and capable of seemingly-impossible feats such as stopping time or producing miracles. Alma is the only character explicitly classified as a "Magic User", with her primary show of power being the ability to completely stop the flow of time.
While not a magic user himself, the Photoner Luther is implied to have gained a lesser version of Alma's time-stopping magic after he experimented on her to death, which can be seen during the battle against his Dark Falz form.
Additionally, Omega seems to be inhabited with magic users instead of Technique users, as the term had gained usage there, as well as through the existence of characters such as Margareta.
Idola: Phantasy Star Saga
Magic seems to be commonplace in the world of Vandor, the setting of Idola: Phantasy Star Saga. However, the naming scheme used on the related skills are Technique-based, so it might just be because either the people of Vandor had no idea about Techniques, or because the very concept of Technique itself has been lost to time and people had taken to call what they've learned as simply magic.
- "A door locked with magic can only be opened with magic."
- — NPC in Scion
- "All who face Lassic lose their souls to his magic!"
- — Male NPC near the Baya Malay Gate
Phantasy Star IV
- "My name is Zio... Zio the black magician. Do not intrude on Birth Valley."
- — Zio introducing himself to the Principal of Motavia Academy in a flashback
- Chaz: "The entrance is blocked."
- Rune: "No sweat. This should be a cinch! Everybody! Stand back! Flaeli!"
- Chaz: "Wow!"
- Rune: "Shall we go?"
- Hahn: "That art he just used. I've never seen it before? The technique's different too."
- Rune: "Hee hee... I'm not surprised you've never seen it before. This is what they call 'magic.'"
- Chaz: "Magic!"
- — Rune annihilates the rocks blocking the tunnel to Tonoe with a magic spell
- Alys: "Now, listen. With what we have right now... there's no way we can win. We've got to do something about Zio's magic barrier."
- Chaz: "Magic barrier?"
- Rika: "'Magic'! That sort of thing should have ceased to exist a thousand years ago!"
- — An injured Alys tells the team her thoughts regarding Zio's barrier
- The concept of Idola has some similarities to how magic and Techniques are treated in the original games, with Lesser Idola being more widespread among commoners but generally regarded as less powerful than the genetically-inherited Zodiart Idola, which are usually found within the higher societies.
- Phantasy Star Official Production Compendium
- Phantasy Star IV
- Alma's character profile on the official site.