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PostSubject: Wizards Do It   Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:32 pm

As I've said before, magic I just don't get whatsoever. I never had any idea of what it's supposed to do... not really, at least. I mean, I know that the immortality in Felarya doesn't stem from prions that cause somatic cells to regrow their telomeres, though the modified proteins are stable only in the presence of 25000ºK radiation even in itsy bitsy amounts, which the crystallography of the ground reflects in a Bragg angle that maximizes exposure for anything close to it. And I have it figured out that psychic microbes are unlikely to account for everyone's ability to speak the same language. I find it rather ludicrous that the ability of a naga's stomach to digest Ti would come from the presence of a selective organic catalyst. Likewise, the odds that fairies are capable of manifesting an increase in their mass through a cascade radical polymerization of airborne oxygen would fail as an explanation for innumerable good reasons. What really puzzles me is why so many things have breasts, including human women: given the amount of nonmammals with boobs, we have to accept this as evidence that breasts have a divine origin, and human women do not, in fact, have them because of being mammals. :B

So, uh... as I was saying, there's plenty of magic in Felarya. And we know it can be used, amongst other things, to discriminate by culinary experience in Negav to allow only the lamest of close-minded hidebound philistines in. It just makes me wonder what else the magic can do: I remember things I read about places back in the Forgotten Realms, where they used magic for... well, like... I dunno, keeping the weather pleasant, making everyone breathe water, and of course allowing dolphins to fly and become ethereal by crying (I mean, what's magic good for if it can't make dolphins fly through solid objects?).

In order to develop culture in Negav, I think we could use some brainstorming on that matter. If magic can keep preds out, what other changes can it enforce on the rules in Negav? For all we know, we could have perfectly standard flying ships in Negav, held aloft only by the power of structures like the Isolon Eye. There may be magical words that convey messages for those who speak them three times over, mental warnings should they become necessary (mental warnings for inappropriate behaviour too), spirits bound to lathes or weaves in order to make stuff tirelessly. There may even be... I know this sounds crazy, guys, but hear me out: how about doors that open when anyone comes near them? We could make them from glass panes, and put them in stores to make people feel really welcome! Insane, I figure, but... think about it for a moment.

Now that you've thought about it, what kind of services do you envision Negav magicking up?

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:10 am

So if I get the purpose of this thread right, it's a counterpart to the tech musing one, trying to find a magic level for Negav along with the tech level, since with good enough creativity, everything technology does could be substituted with some kind of magic. I can get behind it because I personally don't think we have a clear idea of what the magic level is throughout Negav. I believe it's lower in the lower city tiers and higher for the higher city tiers, which I guess could have been the basis for the names if there hadn't been a hint that the city was built on a hill. That's only how I think the basis is, as due to the presence of modern tech, there has to have a balance between the two, and why the magiocrats kept that tech even though they could very well substitute it with magitech.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:55 am

Felarya magic has really simply comformed to the plot needs of the story in the past, which is techniqually what magic in general always amounts to. Such in Harry Potter where Harry Potter had to put up with years about not being believed when he said Voldemort was back and then in the 6th book it was revealed that wizards could share memories...meaning he had the evidence the whole damn time *Cue facepalm*

Magic is really hard to keep consistant it seems, mostly because noone really knows what the hell it actualy is. That's why it's supernatural.

Normally when writing I tend to just to stick to magitech and enchanted items since my characters are rarely trained mages, it makes the story easier to write as characters have to use particular items and not just pull powers out of nowhere. And it makes skilled mages more rare and more of an event when they do turn up.

And as for the breast thing (since I can't resist XD) many people have reason to believe that humans having their Mammary gland larger is to encourage front to front sexual interaction (since we are better suited to that position) Most males in the animal kingdom are attracted to the female's butt so they will do the back position, for humans we are more attracted to breasts for the front position, so naturaly the human Mammary gland have to be larger to get the male's attention....I can only presume this applies to Felarya predators as well?


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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:46 am

I certainly can't deny the idea that magic is often contorted to do whatever is convenient for the plot, but in my opinion, I think one of the reasons why that is, and why you often see magic users everywhere, is that many people don't really have an idea of how difficult it is to learn magic. I think it's possible for anyone normal to potentially learn and master certain types of magic, mainly Rule/Ritual based ones and maybe Ley Lines ones, like any profession in real life, but some people are obviously going to catch on much more easily, while others will struggle a lot.

If I may hop on my soapbox for a moment, one hint that we don't have a very clear understanding of how easy it is to learn magic in Felarya is that, while the wiki says that mages in Negav are formed at the University, it doesn't clue us about how high the bar of entry is or how difficult the courses are. We can assume that the fact it's university-level teaching means that it's difficult, but I think it's a little vague since we don't really know what the barest requirements, like how intelligent or creative at the least someone has to be to be admitted. Personally, I'm fine that Negavians have an easier time grasping the concept of magic since it's pretty much a part of their everyday lives and that because of it, they have a slightly better chance of becoming a mage because of it, but I don't think it should be easy for them to graduate from the university. I personally like the notion that a magic user should be special to a degree. To me, if someone is a mage, then the "normal guy" who is just a very athletic dude becomes more impressive because his lack of supernatural skills make him stand out, which I find absolutely silly.

But yeah, I think one of the first things we could brainstorm on would be to find out how easy it is for a new mage to be formed. I think it would give us an idea of how high or low the magic level is and could give a reason as to why certain things are substituted with technology.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:47 pm

Tha'ss a good place to start, Dark-One.

But if we're going to look at it like wish fulfillment, like it does whatever anyone wants it to... there's a way in which we can start adjudicating it. Something I made up a minute ago... the Three Wishes Rule to keep things whimsical, but elegant.

For instance, let's look at the Fairy Pond.

1. Humanoids that get wet are permanently shrunken.
2. The water always stays clean.
3. Its water is breathable for anyone and anything. Even your asthmatic grandma.
4. It's infinite in depth.

Well, that wasn't such a good example, I guess? What I'm trying to say is that Negav could have a couple more whims granted beyond the Isolon Eye. For instance...

1. Preds can't come in, where pred is defined in the Annex 1.
2. [POSSIBLY] There will be portals between parts of the city, and they will be easy to build according to Annex 2, because we say so.
3. [POSSIBLY] There will be fifty foot buildings stacked atop other fifty foot buildings like architectural salad all the way to the top. And they shall not break, as long as built as explicit in Annex 3.
4. [POSSIBLY] Ships bearing sigils that say "THE PS'ISOL MAGIOCRATS KICK ASS" will float in midair as guided by wizards through the procedure described in the Annex 4, because the Ps'Isol magiocrats kick ass and people should know it.
5. [POSSIBLY] The product of the synthesis described in Annex 5 will be Xy'thium. Like this were some retarded MMORPG, we'll grind that synthesis until we cover the freaking walls.
6. [POSSIBLY] Anything plugged into a power outlet will have electrical power. To control voltage, amperage and waveform, refer to the sigils in Annex 6. Orphans' noses will be wildcards, and anything plugged into one will have whatever kind of power it needs: it'll be possible to power all our unholy magitek devices by plugging them up orphans' noses.

I think a bit of moderation will allow for things to be elegant, despite the only explanation will be "There are Wizards, And Wizards Do It."

======

Speaking of forming wizards, Shady, I'd say... most of us have had 20 years' worth of study since we were 3 years old, and this is assuming we go to university. If magic's no more difficult than tech, then starting off at 23 years seems fair to me, assuming a schedule as relaxed as ours in the Western World.

However, most of the subjects we learn aren't really required for ALL careers. We could assume that if we totally minmax the education and get unreasonable about it (which is a pretty reasonable idea if all we care about is cranking mages out), we could totally fill someone in the required subjects in just 4 years... starting at 12 (when the brain's structures are fully developed), so we could in theory have the most gifted mages, those crazy enough to pull it off, fresh off the academy at 16. I doubt any of them will be Isolon Fist material until they go through Charles Atlas training and then actual military training.

It would be pretty irresponsible to do, too. Kinda like taking coffee-achieving hormone-ridden teenage monkeys and gluing scissors to their hands. We don't want sixteen-year-olds playing with magical scissors in the streets, do we? This isn't shonen: there's enough exposed nipples to make it at least to seinen level.

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:33 am

If I may put on my nerd cap for a little while, I would like to bring you to the wonderful world of Dungeons & Dragons. In D&D, when you create a Level 1 character from scratch, the books have a section about the character's age. How it works is that each race has an ironclad starting age, and depending on your chosen class, you roll a set of dice and you add the result to that ironclad starting age, the number you rolled implying that it was the time it needed for the character to complete its training or whatever and is now ready to set off for adventure if he or she so chooses. You're not forced to do it like that of course, I prefer to see the starting age, 15 for humans by the way, as the minimum age your character should be before you roll the dice, but that's not all that important.

Anyway, if that character is a wizard, you need to roll a pair of six-sided die. That means that in the absolute best case scenario, or for the most gifted of students, it takes a wizard two years to finish its formation, while in the worst case scenario, it can take as long as twelve years. This averages out to a formation of six to seven years. That's quite a long time.

I would also like to bring up that, in the context of D&D, a wizard is someone who isn't born with magical powers, but rather learns and memorizes spells with very specific effects. Magic A is Magic A, basically. In Felarya, this is Rule-based magic, and because it can easily be taught at a university thanks to a collection of spells that no doubt has been recorded over decades, it is the most commonly used type of magic you can find in Negav. Well, it would be if people actually read the wiki instead of lumping all form of spellcasting (and I stress the word spellcasting) as the same nebulous concept as magic, but I digress. Anyway, this is the reason wizards in D&D need a high intelligence score, because learning how to cast spells requires at least above-average memory, and they need to be able to learn things like how certain words and gestures casts Spell A, but also how a slight deviation in either of those can cast the completely different Spell B. In Negav, there probably would be lectures about other types of magic, like Theurgy and Wild Magic and the like, so more stuff to learn.

Keeping all that in mind, personally, I don't think those skills would be very widespread. I am still totally okay if Negavian understands the broader concept of magic and that it helps them learn spellcasting a little better, but I also think that learning how to use magic would be very difficult for the average Negavian. I am one of those people who prefer to see mages as a special class of people, something that can theoretically be achieved by anyone, but only few will actually succeed because I like to see magic as a complex art.

That's just me, though.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:30 am

I often prefer to think as magic as a mythical natural resource, this is backed up by the concept that Felarya is an dimensional plane rife with magical energy such as the healing soil. This natural Felarya element makes the basis for magic users and magi-tech inventors. So Mages are more like speicalists that understand how to manlipuate the Felarya elements around them. Just like humans are capable to harness electricity to produce different results, mages are able to create different outputs by manlipuating magical forces. And for the most part this skill needs an education no different from how a technician needs to learn how machines work.

But that could also mean that magical limitations are no different from technological limitations. New spells and ablities could be created by speicalists all the time, Negav ten years ago woulden't have have had such as sophicated magical powers as it does in the modern day simply because the Magiocrats are always funding new research into ways to use magic.

It could also be that magic can be used as a power source, Felarya silver could be used as batteries, the metal is very conductive and so can conduct magical engergy to use as a power source in machines.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:53 pm

So if I get what you said, magic is closer to another branch of science and a Mage is more akin to an engineer of magic. I can get down with that, especially since TVTrope mentions wizards as such in their entry for Ritual Magic, which is essentially Rule-based Magic. Also, if we go with the science parallel, it reinforces the idea that magic should be difficult to learn. I mean, it's possible for anyone to become a scientist, but is everyone going to be able to meet the qualifications for whatever field they want to specialize in? I personally highly doubt that.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:13 am

Interesting thread ^^

Looking at it I think Negav would definitely have some sort of "magi-tech" : a way to harness magic and use it to perform menial tasks. We could also have a combo between the Mazhir gems and the Actinite (  http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Mineralogy ).  Basically a way to produce energy and power things out of magic.
Pros : Basically an endless source of energy that would deplete only if Felarya itself would get depleted which is..... not happening anytime soon to put it mildly ^^
Cons : It doesn't produce huge amount which mean you can't use it to do big things and not in an unlimited amount of time.

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:00 pm

To risk sounding like nagging, I still think the formation of mages at the Isolon University should be clarified a little. I've ranted about it in a journal, but for the sake of brevity, I think it's commonly believed that magic in Felarya is very easy to learn, and I personally don't like that notion. I prefer that mages, Negavians mages at least since you can't really impose culture on off-worlders without fists being thrown, are be perceived as high contributors to the city, essentially following in the Magiocrats' footsteps who saved their city, which is why they're so often in a high position like working for the government. As such, I think a difficult and lengthy formation that requires great talent should be made apparent, at least when it comes to what is taught at the University. It would also solidify the Battlemages as elites, possessing both outstanding magical prowess AND great physical fitness, which I like to see as very difficult to accomplish.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:47 pm

So are you looking for ranks of mages, their common duties, and information on mage university applicants and how long it takes to learn magic?'

I also support the notion that its not something anyone can learn, at least not easily, without lots of effort.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:00 pm

Just clarifications on the school's activities. I don't think we really need to know what the classes are about, but mentions that the classes are difficult, they demand a lot of effort, hours of intense study to learn all the complex workings of magic, and that tests are seen as unforgiving if you ever slacked off. Stuff like that to establish that mages aren't average people.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:01 am

Well magic is found in abundance in Felarya and is quite a familiar sight but i don't think it means just anyone can harness it.
Learning to cast basic spells is not that difficult if you have a talent for it ( which not everyone have ), and you could go around it by yourself, with dedication and some advices from a mentor or a book.
However things become quickly increasingly complicated from there and to be relevant in magic you definitely have to take studies in a school and spend long years of steady work. And even then, in then end you might just end up with the ability to cast average spells, that can help you in a pinch but doesn't really qualify you as a "mage".  
As I see it the university of Negav allow several courses for their students. The advanced one is for people who are here to become actual mages and it's a difficult and harsh one that quickly make the untalented or unmotivated drop. To become a mage would require years of training. Magic is not really an easy thing to get in Felarya and it should stay that way I think.

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:26 am

So because you can use magic doesn't qualify you as a "mage" in Negav. I didn't expect that. Could you elaborate on what exactly is an actual mage in Negav please?
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:44 am

Mhh well what I mean is someone who would be able to create a small orb of light to see in darkness and nothing else wouldn't be really a "mage".
It's hard to bring a precise definition to the word. It could be someone who is capable of using several spells or it could be a diploma of sort from the university. " Congratulations, you are now officially a mage "

And speaking of that, I will be trying to establish what type of courses the university would propose to its students ( http://felarya.com/wiki/index.php?title=Isolon_University_of_Magic ).
If you have some ideas about that, please don't hesitate ^^

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:49 am

I've always thought elemental spells were particularly unique, not necessarily between fire/water/ice/lightning/whatever spells, but altogether, they're a unique brand. I think that would be one course taught there, involving how to tap into the element that most closely relates to you, transform basic magic energy into elemental energy, how to diversify outward from your own element to others, how to deal with other mages' elemental magic, and whatever else a mage should know about elemental magic.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:10 pm

I'd say one of the classes taught needs to be Countermagic! Basically being able to dispel enchantments, or ward off harmful spells or curses. For instance maybe the ability to ground yourself dimensionally so you can't be bellywarped?
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:22 pm

Grave wrote:
I'd say one of the classes taught needs to be Countermagic! Basically being able to dispel enchantments, or ward off harmful spells or curses. For instance maybe the ability to ground yourself dimensionally so you can't be bellywarped?
Seconded. O.o
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:40 pm

Well, for starters, I think there would be long lectures about the known methods of using magic, but that's a given.  As far as courses go, I think they would teach specific schools of magic, like conjuration, transmutation, and so on, and the harder courses teach very powerful, but very difficult spells in those schools.  For specific courses, however, aside courses for healers and hydromancers, I have no idea.  But I think Grave has a good idea, I think a course for dimensional magic would fit well.  Since Felarya is dimensionaly unstable, being able to use dimensional magic would be a great asset, but at the same time, it would be an advanced course since I presume even a slight mistake could have potentially catastrophic results.

I have a suggestion, since it is a University, perhaps there could be events to encourage competition among the students and put what they learned to the test.  It could range from magic duels, magic contests (what the contests are about I have no clue, cause I'm not very creative), magic sports that totally don't rip off Harry Potter, anything really.  If the place is limited to studying alone, then I think it would be a little boring. Maybe also certain "holidays" where students have days off from class, can go home for a while, etc. Holidays in Negav could be something worth discussing, but that's probably for another discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:53 pm

Let's persist, then...

Getting my nerd cap on too, Shady, there's a few feats in the 3.0 FRCS and the 3.5 CAr.

The 3.0 FRCS contains the feat "Magical Training", representing a Halruuan citizenship. Halruua has everyone trained to SOME level on magic, thus everyone can use Mage Hand // Dancing Lights // Daze, once per day each, if your int is 10+. The 3.5 Complete Arcane has Soul of the North, Insightful, Night Haunt, Spell Hand and Communicator- each allows you to use a different set of 3 0th level spells, once a day. These spells are always used like a level 1 wizard... and at university, they teach us that an engineer has to be able to learn and adapt continuously to new challenges.

So maybe we could mean that by mage: most magic users are one-trick ponies capable of using a few tricks they know by heart. Mages, on the other hand, are expected to know their way around their kind of magic competently, and know what has to change in what circumstance, thus making them capable of learning new spells with greater ease and best understand the possible effects of what a spell could do.



You know, kinda like how if you ever worked construction you know all you need to raise a house: that kinda thing happens in town. You can get a dozen folk who've worked construction before and they won't need an architect to tell 'em where goes what: they already done it before, they can do it again. People say slums are poorly built, but they aren't: the same guys who build the well-financed projects by day go home and build the exact same thing by night. But if you want a house that they didn't build before, they would be at a loss for where to begin, and you'd need an architect on the project.

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:21 am

Stabs wrote:

So maybe we could mean that by mage: most magic users are one-trick ponies capable of using a few tricks they know by heart. Mages, on the other hand, are expected to know their way around their kind of magic competently, and know what has to change in what circumstance, thus making them capable of learning new spells with greater ease and best understand the possible effects of what a spell could do.

That's what I had in mind yes Smile
Mages are not only able to perform a spell but they understand it and are able to adapt it to a given situation.

Also while writing on the university entry I came to the conclusion that basic courses would be cheap, intermediate ones would be more expensive and advanced ones would be...  actually cheaper. Perhaps because of some generous grants as magiocrats would want to favor the development of promising talents.

Quote :

( still in WIP - don't mind typos or poorly written sentences )
Admission in the university is relatively easy. You start with an exam to determine your potential in magic. Once you are deemed worthy, you are directed toward several courses that fit your potential.

*The most basic course are cheap. They are here to develop latent talent through practice and a bit of theory. The aim is for the student to become a reliable magic user, able to perform a few spells well.

*Normal courses see a big jump in admittance fees. The work is intensive and the theory much more important. The objective for students is to become mages, not only capable of using spells but understanding them and thus being able to adapt them to different situations. This course also attempt to determine the student's affinity for a certain type of magic to further develop it and possibly direct them to a specialized course such as Hydromancy, Transmutation or Dimensional magic for example.

   Surprisingly, advanced courses are not that expensive. Well they are but a student promising enough see themselves offered generous scholarship grants that effectively make the advanced courses cheaper than the normal ones. Indeed, the magiocrats consider it's in Negav's best interest to allow promising mages to reach their full potential. The work is extremely intensive though, involving lot of advanced theory, lot of training using the full extent of the university's specialized facilities and survival drill in the trial room. For the high end courses, students are asked to follow at least two specializations

What do you think ?

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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:08 am

This seems pretty solid, though I would personally add how long such courses last on average. For example, maybe basic courses last only two or three years, maybe normal courses last five to seven years, and maybe advanced courses could take as long as ten to even twelve years.

About the entrance exam, since Rule-based magic is the most common form of spellcasting in Felarya, and it's pretty much all about memorizing and replicating specific incantations or rituals, thus can technically be learned by anyone, would you say the purpose of the entrance exam is to see if the examinee can understand and replicate a very basic spell? After all, if the examinee has a lot of trouble wrapping its head around the most fundamental aspect of spellcasting, then it probably wouldn't be able to make it through the basic course.
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:48 pm

Shady Knight wrote:
About the entrance exam, since Rule-based magic is the most common form of spellcasting in Felarya, and it's pretty much all about memorizing and replicating specific incantations or rituals, thus can technically be learned by anyone, would you say the purpose of the entrance exam is to see if the examinee can understand and replicate a very basic spell?  After all, if the examinee has a lot of trouble wrapping its head around the most fundamental aspect of spellcasting, then it probably wouldn't be able to make it through the basic course.
Even if it's easy to make rule-based magic, you'd need books or a master that can teach you. Maybe not everyone out there has the chance to learn magic before taking an entrance exam, or even the person can be really bad at rule-based but hold a good potential for another type of magic. I don't think limiting the exam to casting some rule-based spells would do any good. Besides, it wouldn't really show if the person has hidden potential, there have to be other ways of assessing the magical capacity of a person.

I can totally see mediocre magic users advertising themselves as teachers to pass the entrance exam, only to force the person to learn a handful of spells by heart almost to perfection before letting them take the exam.

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Shady Knight
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:38 pm

I think you got what I posted wrong. Rule-based magic isn't a type of magic, it's a type of spell casting. In other words, it's a specific method of casting spells. For example, someone specializes in ice magic. That seems straightforward, but how exactly does he cast such ice magic? Does he cast it by chanting specific incantations he studied, each having a very specific effect? Does he appease to the Gods of Winter? Does he tap into an invisible force field that surrounds all living things? Does he simply have the innate ability to manipulate cold from birth? This is what I'm talking about by types of spell casting. It would be rather difficult to teach someone inherent/innate magic, since they're powers people are born with and would be very specific to the person, Not to mention that people born with magic tend to be rare; theurgy/thaumaturgy, since that's would be closer to a cult; or wild magic, since no sane teacher is going to mess with anything that could potentially level the city, not to mention wild magic is more a phenomenon than a way someone can cast spells.

But anyhoo, I see what you mean by having multiple ways of assessing potential, especially if someone possesses innate powers. The entrance exam as a whole bugs me, because it's implied the Isolon University is the one place where you learn all about magic. Normally, before you take an entrance exam, you already have a certain amount of experience in a certain subject or set of subjects. So how would people even be able to take the exam, let alone pass it, if they haven't been taught any form of spellcasting prior?
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PostSubject: Re: Wizards Do It   Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:23 am

I imagine other graduates of the system could be floating around the city doing various things. In this way, I suppose they could go and talk to them about how to learn some magic before the exam. Or books in a store having some publications of magic, or the Library (which could possibly have a 'practice what you learn' area?).

Though I'd be a bit cautious about going to the Venmys Peaug or however-you-spell-it library. There's some ideas. Though honestly being the nature of the system so far, I don't think you could get into the academy for free. Having some money (stolen or otherwise? Razz) would be essential, which makes poor magic based people left out.

Unless we have a sort of Jedi-thing, and certain higher ranking mages in the academy go throughout the city testing people's ability, whether by using a public fair-contest thing, or in private.
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