The Charter underpins everything that exists in the Old Kingdom. Almost all things are described, contained and joined by it. The Charter flows everywhere, though in some places it is distant or blocked. Charter Mages are particularly attuned to the Charter, by birth or baptism, or both.

To use the power of the Charter, a Charter Mage must visualise reaching into the continuous flow of the Charter and if successful, can then mentally select and grasp the individual Charter marks they need. A single Charter mark may perform some uncommon action, or several may be woven together to create a particular spell. The marks can then be spoken, drawn in the air, traced on the ground or used in other ways. Some Charter marks quickly fade back into the general flow of the Charter, and their effects cease. Others may persist for a long time, sometimes even centuries.

Because there are an uncounted number of individual Charter marks and thus limitless combinations, most Charter Mages tend to use a very limited selection that they are familiar with. It is very dangerous to attempt to use unknown marks or unknown combinations. Even using known marks is not without danger, as reaching into the flow of the Charter brings certain risks.

Charter Mages use an invented alphabet to record Charter marks and possible combinations that will form spells, to avoid actually invoking the marks. However these books and records are useless to someone who does not have a baptismal Charter mark, which is the first step towards being able to work with the Charter, rather than just being part of it.

Free Magic uses different powers, not contained and described by the Charter. Free Magic sorcerers and Free Magic creatures are inherently enemies of the Charter and those who use Charter Magic. All necromancers, save for the Abhorsens, are Free Magic sorcerers. The Abhorsens are the only Charter Mages who can also use Free Magic, though they must resist the lure of its more straightforward, angry power. (see here for more information on the use of Free Magic).