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Special Talent Spells:
Unicorn magic in the show is tied to what your special talent in. Those who's special talent is medicine for example might have fast-cast healing spells or anesthetic spells, spells to cleans or do other things that nurses and doctors do. These would be their primary abilities. They could learn these spells easily and cast them quickly. These spells are almost always tied to the meaning of the cutie mark and can surpass the limits of the spells cast by other ponies without the dedicated talent to it.
Someone who's special talent is making shoes would have a harder time learning a healing spell but could still cast it. They would require more effort, (A round of concentration) and be limited in their success. Where as a actual healer might be able to re-grow a limb the shoemaker might be able to cast for a round then stop the bleeding and stabilize the patient until they can get them to a real healer.
Cantrips! Lights, Candles, Action!
The first kind of spell a unicorn learns. They are small spells that have no tactical advantage and can be used by most unicorns. Lighting candles, opening and closing doors, warming water, cooling tea, these cantrip spells are useless in combat and follow one simple guideline: Cantrip magic can only do things which commonly happen. Like you can use a candle to light a candle but you couldn't use a cantrip to turn a candle into a carrot or a bunny into a cat. Complex magic is just not possible with this very basic level of understanding.
Almost all unicorns can use this. Most from birth. Most can lift up to a pony's weight. Unless your special talent is actually this spell you most likely shouldn't lift more than the weight of a normal pony and more than the weight of a normal pony can't be maintained for long even in dramatic events. This has been shown in the show. If this was not true then Unicorns could just fly like Pegasus.
The second most commonly known advanced spells. It's been used by Twilight, Trixie (for embarrassingly short hops), as well as the princesses in the show. It is "Advanced." magic and unless travel or magic is your talent you shouldn't be able to use it to get very far with it. All the unicorns who have been shown using it can use it very quickly if not for very great distances. It would seem to be so limited that more than a mile of jumping is out of the question. Even Celestia had to fly back to Canterlot when she visited Twilight in Ponyville. That is why she needs a chariot to pull her places. Even Celestia can't teleport from city to city.
Also known as scrying, this is the ability to see great distances or even forward in time or to the past. This magic has far more range because it does not require a transfer of mass. These spells are, however, illegal and locked away in the forbidden magic library in Canterlot. These spells do pop up from time to time as natural talents but for the most part, those who can invade the lives of others, past present or future, are encouraged to join the royal guard and serve the greater good.
Far Seeing spells are capable of seeing over vast distances, those born with a talent for it can even see from city to city. However, there are limits. The further something is physically from your current location the more difficult and unclear it is. Temporal location also matters. If you are using a spell to see into the past, the further back you go the harder it is to see things clearly. More than a month is impossibly for most ponies and only the exceptional can see things more than two weeks distant in the past or the future.
NOTE: It is very rare for a far seer to have both the power to experience the world over a distance and communicate across it. Both Telepathy spells and Far Seeing are forbidden magic. Having both at the same time is considered so dangerous that you can almost guarantee your character will be conscripted into the service of the nobility, or worse.
Like Far Seeing, Mind magic is illegal and there for difficult to learn as anything other than a natural talent. What few copies of the technique remain are locked away. The invasion of another pony's mind is one of the most despised crimes in all of magic and the people who practice these arts, even for good, are often looked on with suspicion.
Mind magic includes telepathy, memory alteration, emotional manipulation, mind control and as a general classification anything which takes away the free will of others.
Mental energy is strong at close range but weak over a distance and almost all but the weakest of minds has some form of defense. It is normally necessary to lower these defenses with some form of hypnotic gaze or other effect which relaxes the mind. Once contact with a mind is established you can build a bond with it. The repeated use of mind magic in person allows an emotional bond to form that gives the magic greater range. This is why telepathic twins who grow up together can know what each other are thinking with almost no effort but can not know the thoughts of a stranger without putting forth great effort. The stronger the emotional bond the easier the magic is. The reverse is also true. The more someone hates you, the more they resist, the more difficult the invasion of their mind is.
This is the ability to create realistic magical images. Projecting the imagination out into the world and constructing it with light or shadow. Optical and auditory illusions are not illegal and are often used to entertain publicly. Sensory illusions such as touch and taste and smell are more regulated. There are some forms of sensory magic which are illegal.
Spells which make a pony feel as if they are on fire while they are not or create oders so strong as to incapacitate a pony for example, are considered military grade spells and are therefore illegal for civilian use. If your illusion could be used as a weapon, it's most likely illegal.
Illusions are usually cast at the location of the caster or within line of sight of the caster as they are projecting their imagination onto the real world. (See: Trixie)
To make oneself invisible, by altering light or by projecting a mental 'You don't see me' net are both military grade spells and there for illegal in the hands of civilians. Very few ponies have been able to maintain these spells for longer than an hour and the complexity of maintaining the visual invisibility requires a lot of concentration making it pretty much worthless as a combat spell. You can not cast any other magic while invisible or maintain any other spell while invisible. Being invisible takes to much effort to multitask.
Some magic is just elemental! Creating fire, ice, wind, water, light, or shadow, or naturally occurring simple materials. This process involves turning one element into another. The more traits the elements have in common to start with the easier it is. Air can be easily turned into fire, less easily turned into water, it's very difficult to turn air into earth and even more so to turn air into coal. So it helps if you start off with similar things. If you want to make coal for example, start off with a lot of rocks. It's already solid, it's already heavy and already has a lot of the properties of coal. The items created have to be simple, pure items. While you could create coal, you couldn't create gem stones because they have both physical and magical properties. You could create a big rock, but you couldn't create a big ball of jelly because jelly is chemically complex.
This magic is the magic of nature and there for it is much easier to do. A pony can bring into existence up to a pony in weight of element per turn. For example a psyo-pony could create a pony sized bundle of fire to ignite a tree on fire where as a unicorn with the water spell could dump a pony sized deluge of water onto the same fire. A caster may produce up to a pony in volume of material per turn of acting. So if you are filling up a pool you can just keep on channeling magic, dumping water in it every pose until it's full.
NOTE: While it is possible to conjure pure gold from the earth, it still has to be refined and processed so while you can make yourself wealthy by doing this, it still involves a lot of work. It becomes very obvious very fast to the royal tax collectors that you are up to something fishy and your use of the magic may be limited in order to protect the economic stability of the kingdom. The spell for transmutation of elements into gold is forbidden magic and illegal.
The ability to shrink/grow things is useful but difficult. It is among the most advanced of magics because you are not shrinking the object but the invisible stuff that makes up the object. You are pulling or expanding the space between the molecules. An object can be shrunken down to half it's normal size however it will be twice as heavy and dense. An object may be inflated to twice it's normal size but it will weigh half as much and be more susceptible to breakage. Doubling the size of your sword will not only make it unwieldy it will give it the material strength of a wooden sword, for example. This spell may be channeled so further grow or shrink an object every turn but the negative effects stack as well.
NOTE: The use of shrinking and growing spells on living things is considered a crime. While the magic itself is not outlawed it is regulated and due to the likely hood of it making living things fragile or unstable it is forbidden to all but the most talented/experienced of unicorns.
Any spell which radically changes the composition of a system as complex as the pony body is simply to difficult for anyone short of an Alicorn or a true master of magic to cast. If you want to be able to cast this spell run it be staff because unless it it your special talent spell it's very unlikely you would know it. There are not even copies of this magic kept. Celestia and Luna know the magic and they know it's far, far to dangerous to leave laying around in written format.