Author Topic: Religion and Magic  (Read 5906 times)

Spriggan

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Religion and Magic
« on: February 24, 2004, 12:22:14 AM »
Ok this needs a seperate thread.

Few things that need to be discussed.

1) Are angles worshiped as gods?  Do they have names, Portfolios and Pantheons?  I realise that some smaller religions, like in the free cities, might do this, but I'm looking more at SE's original concept.

2)What about thier influence in the world?  My concept of the Parth religion includes the high level priests gaining accesses to a tower/chuch temple where angles frequent, it's quite common to see a few there in the space of a week.  And to have temples with gaurdian angles, not ones that live there, but are connected to the temple wich that high priest can call on in emergencies.

3) Magic isn't common, but what's the power of magic going to be?  Am i going to be able to have a temple under water?  Or is that going to be beyond what level we wanted to have?
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2004, 07:34:25 AM »
1) in some places. My original concept is that there are a great many and scattered ideas about religion and no one quite knows what the Godwar is all about. They all share soem fundamental ideas, but there are disagreements about who is the most powerful, whether there are superiors to the angels and so on. Some people think the lowest stratum of angels is it. They're gods and there's nothing above them. And so on.

2) People have seen angels, but it seems to me that if people have such frequent contact with angels, it'd remove the confusion about what the divine context is, since the angels would explain it to them. They could believe in this, but actually seeing even one angel a week brings too much of them into the world, imo.  Angels (and demons) are actually seen rarely, and it's a very special occasion when one does see an angel.

3) I think that's beyond what we wanted. I can see a spell that gives one the power to breathe under water for a short time, but a permanent effect on a whole building seems too much. You could, however, have these temples tended by Ocean humans, who have gills.

Spriggan

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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2004, 07:43:28 AM »
ok

1&2) I had the impression that humans had an idea what was going on, and that the Church of Parth was one set up by the angles and all the others were break offs or cults.  So that clears that up.

3) I was intending on haveing it attended by Ocean humans, but I need a way for non Ocean humans to make a pilmrage there.  Not sure what the Pilmrages will involve, but there will be 2 different ones.  The first one will be an adept will have to stay for an extended time at his/her elemental temple.  The second one will be visiting various temples not of your element to show divoten etc, but it'll probaly involve being at the temple for a hour or two doing things.  
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2004, 07:45:56 AM »
Also are there going to be summons in the game?  I still want to have some type of Elemental gardian of a temple for the high priest to call on if need be.  It could be summoning a beast/monster of a same Element or a pure Element (wich I thought was an Angel).
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2004, 09:07:57 AM »
well, my first brainstorm to visit the ocean temple is to have one on the shore, perhaps with an extention that goes under the water. I suppose it depends on what they do there.

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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2004, 11:49:21 AM »
Ok, here's a little speil on some magic, might help. Don't know.

A setting where magic is looked upon warily and often the line between fear and reverence is very slim. There are two types of magic, Inborn and Learned (though they'd need better names eventually). Very low magic for the most part, in terms of actual USE of magic.

My other questions shall be answered within aslhk's ones, hopefully. To begin:


What is Magic?



No one knows what magic is, nor where it comes from. It's a kind of energy from some other dimension/plane/universe in the case of those Inborn. [This is because I'm the sort who prefers mysteries to answers.] Learned magic is different, and is (to an extent) a non-renewable resource.

How does it work?
Inborn: Magic is drawn down/into you once a day (dawn or dusk). Once it's all used up, you're stuck. Actual use and effects are user-dependant but follow basic elemental patterns (earth, air, fire, water, void) with the mage having access to one (or more?) of those. Casting requires
a) time to focus ones will; b) Mood. A caster who is sick, hurting, in pain, or shock can't work healing magic or nice spells to help people. While in pain, most of them can't use magic; c) Desire. Need drives their magic, and imagination to cause results; d) enough energy to cast the spell.
Learned: Spells are taught by a college of some description to worthy students (Almost all lower nobility). It takes time to learn and master magic, so mages known magic, not magic + thieving/tacticts/sword fighting. Once they head down the road to magic, they can't step off .. too much time and effort investing in teaching them. This magic works by drawing upon the magical energies of places and people, the stars and sun, the moon, astronomy, and the like. Basically cross alchemy/astrology/tarot/divination and the like with some real spells in ritual form. Most uses of real magic actually draw upon spill-over magic from the use of inborn mages, so it a non-renewable resources that, nonetheless, gets renewed in different areas at sporadic intervals. It requires a lot of work, memorization, items and things to focus the magic.

Is it systematic or chaotic?
Inborn: Very chaotic. The amout of magic each mage gets varies sometimes for unknown reasons and spelling items or people is always a dangerous undertaking. Using magic to change people or oneself (healing or shape shifting) is generally very risky.
Learned: So systematic the systems have systems. Lots has been written about said systems, which leads to competing schools and theories and sometimes outright assassination. New spells are rare unless the area has been saturated in magic again and even then actual useful/powerful spells are only taught to really promising/skilled/suck up students.

Is it dependable?
Inborn: Er, well, yes. Unless it runs out. But, as far as is known, if one has the energy and skill and the spell is possible they can do it. Reliability in getting the same effect isn't as likely.
Learned: Oh, yes. Even the magic is, since it's very ritualized and grounded in traditions. (This is necessary since magic is unpredictable unless grounded/channelled in various ways to make sure it does what one wishes it to.)

Who can use it?
Inborn: Only people who have it inborn. The nature of this is debated. It can be inherited, but tends to skip generations. Generally pregnant females in a high-magic saturated area have a strong change to have a child born with magic, but there are no guarantees. The onset of magic use also varies, and is NOT tied in with puberty in any way, shape, or form. (That being said, many first exhibit magic the first time they have sex perhaps because they let down their guard/barriers and waken it.)
Learned: Anyone taught by a college. Only college teachers teach it, and they never leave the college. No one leaves them to teach outsiders. It costs money, so only nobility or those sponsored by nobles learn magic. The colleges can deny anyone for any reason. Learning magic from a college mage not in a college is possible, but you don't learn much (and no real magic) and generally knowledge of how magic works and not being college-taught is punishable by blinding/removal of hands and the like. (This isn't to say that it's not common: divination is common in lots of places, ditto with astrology. But accurate/accepted results are only possible for those trained by a college.)
« Last Edit: February 24, 2004, 11:51:39 AM by Gemm »
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2004, 11:49:43 AM »


What is the cost of using it?
Inborn: Ostracized by people generally as a matter of self-preservation when magic firsts manifests. Sometimes the first real flowering of the magic can change the person entirely (species, sex, loss of memory etc.) and until they get a rein on their emotions and needs their magic is too volatile to trust. Even after they achieve a modicum of control they're grudgingly tolerated and often pitied.
Learned: No life. Also, adherence to the specific beliefs/studies of their college over all others. Loyalty to family and crown and school are a must. Going out and travelling the world is very rare and almost unheard of, since it takes time away from teaching and learning. Taking on apprentices is possible, but only to teach them basic precepts and send them to the college for instruction.

Is it learned or is it something people are born into?
Inborn: Inborn.
Learned: Learned.

How often can it be used?
Inborn: Any time, as long as one is in the right mood, has the right need, and enough energy.
Learned: Any time, with proper rituals, chants, items, planning and the like. Different spells or divinations or whatnot are subject to times of day, seasonal issues and the like as well. Generally, any use takes at least 10 minutes of preparation.
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2004, 11:50:39 AM »
What does magic do?


What is an entire day like in the life of a budding mage? What about the life of a successful mage? The life of an uber-powerful mage? ?
Inborn: Budding mages spend their time alternately starving and trying to conjure up food or a place or sleep and often suffering from severe angst :) Successful mages have survived the flowering of their magic and, to some extent, understand it. With luck, they've found another mage to compare experiences to and understand how their magic works and how to control and use it better. Uber-powerful mages seldom exist and most seem to vanish one day literally into the magic and never return.
Average day (budding mage): Why me? Oh, crap, I feel sick. Eew. I'm oozing magic. Stop that. Oh, my god. What did I do to that tree? Why am I purple? Must eat.... no! It's trying to eat me. Wow. Did I do that? Oh, noooo. Not another mob ... I'm starving. Wow. I did it! Real food! I feel happy! Okay, time to try stuff..... wow, I feel drained. Sleep. Why me? I feel all tingly .. what did I do now? Okay, I need breakfast. Breakfast ...... I hate this.
Average day (successful mage): Convince villagers you did not curse anyone. Help them for a pittance because you have nowhere else to go. Wonder what happened to some mages you knew who have vanished. Continue trying to figure out the why and how of magic.
Average day (uber mage): Transcend your fleshly body and break the bonds of matter.

Learned: Budding mages spent their entire time in lessons. And more lessons. And memorizing spells, and other stuff. Successful mages sell their services to others outside the college and travel to an extent, though it means they get behind on learning. Uber learned mages have spent a lot of time in magic saturated areas and are almost all teachers at colleges.
Average day (budding mage): Go to class. Learn. Eat lunch. Go to class. Go home. Cram like mad with some books borrowed/stolen from the school. Sleep. Sneak into library very early in morning and cram some more.
Average day (successful mage): Be a pompous prick. Sell magic to the ungrateful scum around you. Serve your family or be taken down a peg or two or killed. Engage in politics to become an uber mage. Regret the loss of your youth.
Average day (uber mage): Check on the Inborn mage you have chained up somewhere, bleed some more magic out of them. Teach classes from memory and keep an eye out for those who might be able to channel real magic. Groom them accordingly. Engage in subtle propaganda, political, magical wars with other uber mages. Work on capturing another mage to replace your current pet.

Do spells have to be prepared before hand, or is magic spontaneous? ?
Inborn: All spontaneous, even prepared stuff.
Learned: Spontaneous? What's that? I think I can do that. Give me a few hours.

Is there a certain list of effects that can be achieved with magic? How about a list of effects that can't be achieved? ?
Inborn: Nope. Generally limited by a dice roll and GM fiat and what elements you know and how well you know them.
Learned: Limited to amount of magic in the area and knowledge of it and prep time for real spells. Limited by learning and time spent learning for other stuff.

How often can magic be used? What happens if someone uses it too much? What are the ill effects of using magic on a person? The beneficial effects? How about the effects of suddenly not using magic (quitting "cold turkey")? ?
Inborn: As often as one wants (and sometimes emotion/need means whenever it wants, too). Using too much leads to exhaustion/coma. Using it on people = magic pollution = bad. beneficial effects are uncommon, since most die or are changed, or nothing happens at all. Quitting it is not possible since stuff will happen anyway.
Learned: Depends how much is available and not claimed by other mages. Using too much means you try sometimes not in one of the books or aren't competent enough and put too much magic through you during the ritual which means you become a laundry problem for someone to clean up the robes covered in ash. Using magic on people can be done, and can work, but items are easier and more reliable. Quitting isn't possible since you are in this for life, so quitting means you are dead (Retiring is possible, but rare).

What sort of things are required to do magic? Ritual? Strange Materials? Time? Energy? A weird Crystal? A magic wand!? WHAT!?!? ?
Inborn: Energy, and time, and imagination.
Learned: Rituals, chants, materials, meditation, consultation of charts, checking the time of day, wind path, seasons, last meals eaten, path of the birds outside the window, divination to see if divination will be successful. Err. Pretty much everything.
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2004, 11:51:12 AM »
How does magic influence society?



Who learns it? Can anyone learn? What about the poor people who can't even read? Can they learn? ?
Inborn: Magic is entirely inborn and is generally only taught by a mage after one has gained basic control and they find you (or you find them) and they explain what they know. It's purely democratic and basically picks people at random as far as most can tell.
Learned: Only the nobility can learn this, or those they sponsor. Poor people cna pick some up from listening to mages, but they're always given a lot of disinformation along with it. The poor will never learn magic. It's not sanitary.

How is it learned? How does the common person feel about his son learning magic? What about an aristocrat? ?
Inborn: No one wants their child to have magic. Parents suspecting children of magic have been known to drug and then blind them or cut their hands off or their tongue out, to be on the safe side. (This doesn't work, but it is done anyway.) Killing a mage of this kind is generally a very dangerous undertaking since the magic will act to protect itself.
Learned: College teaches this magic, and the common person won't have a son learning it but could have a former child now a minor noble and will never associate with scum like you again most likely. Nobles like their sons to learn magic, if they have no aptitude for the sword or diplomacy or the like. If the family has no mage for whatever reason, they will force it on someone. Most families like to have 2-3 mages, and 3-5 in apprenticeships. Lesser families share mages. Having none is a serious status blow.

Go through the daily life of a peon with emphasis on the parts of his life that are influenced by magic. Does he use a magic axe? Does his wife clean the kitchen with a spell? How does he feel about magic users? ?
The average peon has as little to do with magic as possible. Learned mages tend to be consulted by villages paying a fee for divinations and the like, and Inborn ones are consulted by being asked to do something, and then told to go away.

Are magic users respected, feared, or treated like engineers? ?
Inborn: Feared, pitied, derided.
Learned: Respected for rank as much as anything, and often treated like engineers and somewhat lesser than other family members.

How influential are magic users?
Inborn:
Learned: Very, since they do divinations, but aside from that they're not powerful enough to wield much influence and ties among them are a) family b) college. Other mages are looked upon with distrust or envy often enough.

What kinds of magic are there? How is each treated? How common are they?
The only kinds of magic are inborn and learned. Inborn magic is rare and some of them get captured by Learned mages and used as a power source and die anyway. Mind you, most learned mages who try this fail :)
Learned magic is very common among nobility and treated as a specialized skill.
There are no holy magics in this setting, no gods wielding healing spells and the like. (A witchcraft version of magic standing between Inborn and Learned does exist as the Village Wise Woman/Barbarian Shaman but it's not that common. Many of these tend to be captured by Learned mages seeking Inborn ones.)

Why do people bother to learn/develop magic anyway?
Inborn: They master it or it masters them.
Learned: Something to do, have no choice, ordered, or it's the only thing they're good for.

How does society/mages police magic users? Are their laws regarding how/when it can be used? Spells that are illegal to learn/teach?
Inborn: They are generally hunted down by terrified mobs or live as hermits. Use of this magic is illegal in cities and in the country in general.
Learned: The college keeps a careful eye on mages and the infighting and back stabbing tends to prevent excesses. There are no illegal spells (since few are actually powerful) but some are frowned upon, such as necromatic stuff. Learned magic is used in the cities at will, though it can only be used in the demesne of nobility (even ones own family) with express permission of said family.

Are there dangers inherent in magic use?
Inborn: Using magic is fatal unless one is awfully lucky.
Learned: Using real magic without the proper rituals is fatal.

Some final thoughts:

Inborn magic is very high-powered but rare. Learned is common but rather weak (it does have the advantage of being more versatile but at the cost of taking a long time to do anything useful). The Witchcraft/Shaman variant straddles the line between the two and is basically a self-taught learned style with more emphasis on real magic. It's rare since often the teacher is unable to find a pupil or runs afoul of the authorities.
A divine(?) magic system acting more as psychic powers and used to ferret out and destroy Inborn mages could be added as well. It wouldn't have healing magics, though, since those tend to unbalance a world a lot and exist mostly to keep characters alive when their own stupidity should have killed them.
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2004, 01:11:09 PM »
Gemm, is that a proposed system for the setting? Because it seems locked into a lot of different options that we don't have to. Why does inborn magic have to be chaotic? etc. etc.

Basically, what we have now is an inborn system. It is not known exactly where it comes from. The magic is essentially elemental, but is not strictly tied to the human's subtype.

Magic is not ultra-mega-powerful. It's powerful in that  non-magic people have no idea what it's capable of, and it's so rare that it's not expected, but its raw power is not that great. Tricky people can come up with some ways of using it to make it more effective, however.


I realized I also didn't answer Sprig's summoning question. It seems inconsistent with the general image of magic I have. Though I suspect that if the Parthite priests are this secretive and highly organized, they may have managed to find some magic weilders to be in their temples. Having a magic weilder at all would be surprise enough to tip a lot of balance in protecting the temples. Yeah, it tones down the impressiveness a bit, but relatively speaking, it's almost as effective. Subtlety was the nature of the magic system.

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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2004, 01:13:07 PM »
No, its more the use at your discretion sort of thing. Just something I thought I'd toss up.
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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2005, 06:42:49 AM »
I really like this idea of magic, Gemm. It sounds neat.  I wish I'd thought it up.

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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2005, 09:19:42 AM »
which reminds me, I need to write some stuff on this. Another thing on the list for after I finish these tests.

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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2005, 01:57:57 PM »
Wow, I hadn't noticed that there'd actually been TW(i)G activity this year.  Let's gets some stuff up!  I wouldn't mind doing more eventually, but I'd like to see some others publish some stuff.

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Re: Religion and Magic
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2005, 07:09:25 AM »
I've got some stuff but I found it hard to write for becaue I don't really care for SE's world, it's just not something I would make.  That being said, I'll probaly finish something sometime becaue it's a learning experence for me.   Though I'm not sure when I'll get the time.  Right now I've got multiple TWG weekly articles I need to write, have to finish JP's shadowfist website's manegement system, do somethings for my site and  start codeing on the new TWG.  My plate is full, and unless I actualy see people working on an actual system for this I don't see any reason to actualy add writeing TWIG articles to that list.  This really cannot go anywhere with out an actual game to go with it in my opinion.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2005, 07:10:47 AM by Spriggan »
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