Spells come in three general categories: Trained, Improvised, and Ritual.
A Trained Spell represents something that a character has practised time and time again and can expertly execute. Trained Spells do not have to follow the general rules for Spell construction and are worked out directly with the DM. A Trained Spell is more efficient to activate in terms of stamina cost then an Improvised Spell by 2 points of stamina and can include effects and activation types unavailable to an Improvised Spell.
An Improvised Spell conversely represents attacks that a character has not practised but is trying to execute on the spot to fit the needs of a situation. Unlike with manoeuvres access to a spell effect must first be purchased as a feature through CDP. An Improvised spell is constructed using the effect cost guidelines for spell and is always a Standard Action to cast. An Improvised Spell is less efficient then a Trained Spell but doesn’t need to be purchased before hand and can be tailored to fit the specific needs of the situation. The effects of an Improvised Spell should be described but require less justification then a manoeuvre.
Ritual Spells are prepared and cast over a long period of time, typically hours though sometimes as long as weeks or as short as minutes. Ritual magic is what is generally sought out as the most powerful application of magic. Many of the great mages in history owe their reputation entirely to the use of ritual magic and disdained the use of more quick magics. The activation of a ritual requires a sacrifice. This has most traditionally been the blood or life force of the caster or the killing of an animal for smaller rituals and the ending of a sentient life, or several such lives, for more powerful rituals. The study of Arcane magic in Erroun has expanded on the use of material components as a way of fuelling rituals and the older methods of blood magic are typically seen as uncouth when not outright illegal. Many adventurer’s still use the old methods for casting of smaller rituals due to its flexibility relative to needing to carry specialised materials for a particular ritual.