Tapping occurs when someone consciously chooses to tap deeply into the essence of a place. In academic spheres, one who consciously taps into an environment is called a “true tapper” or an “intentional tapper.” Most laymen just consider them tappers.
Tapping is based off someones strength of character, or willpower. While intelligent people can usually become tappers, willpower is what distinguishes true masters from dabblers.
All people have the innate ability to become tappers, and in many ways, most people accumulate a spell or two over the course of their lives (see knacks) However, some people are much more innately in tune with their environment, therefore making it easier for them to tap into it.
Tapping occurs when reality and probabilities are reshaped. True tappers can carry the essence of an environment within them and apply it in a highly juxtaposed manner. A tapper carrying around the essence of a volcano may have a few abilities. He may heat himself when cold. He may create a fireball, or jet of magma. Legends speak to ancient powerful tappers who could even create another volcano.
Not all environments are created equal. Usually, only a handful of effects can be drawn from each environment. There effects cannot be anticipated before tapping into the place, though certain tapping schools have information of locations with powerful effects.
Tappers with more innate ability are able to actually pull out more effects from a given area. In essence, they are understood to be able to tap more deeply into the environment.
Timing can also be important when tapping into a location. Certain effects are more likely to be drawn out when specific conditions are satisfied. For example, a prairie that annually succumbs to wildfires may contain a fireball effect. However, it is more likely for the less skilled to draw out such an effect during, or recently after, a wildfire.
Some areas, called Nodes, are so powerful that when a person taps into their essence, effects are automatically imparted upon the tapper, regardless of ability. These highly magical locations are beyond value to tappers and are kept as closely guarded secrets.