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 Post subject: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:31 pm 
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This just came to me the other day. No idea which of my existing worlds I could/would use it in if any. May wind up never doing anything with it, but I thought it was kind of cool.

A spell is a magical command which brings about a single result. One of the magic users' mantras reflects this principle in this way: "One spell, one effect." There are a variety of ways that these commands can be issued: spoken recitations, singing, dancing, gestures, painted/written/carved runes, etc. However, many magical undertakings involve multiple results or changes in order to accomplish one task. This is where things get interesting.

An enchantment is a system of 2 or more consecutive spells cast with a related intent. From a theoretical perspective, if a spell is a command, then an enchantment is a set of orders. But from a more pragmatic view, an enchantment is any 2 or more spells cast together. There are various levels of enchantments.

A rite is an enchantment comprised of 3 spells.
A ritual is an enchantment comprised of anywhere from 4 to 14 spells.
A double rite is merely a type of ritual comprised of 6 spells.
Any enchantment comprised of 15 or more spells is called a Grand Ritual or perhaps a High Ritual or a Grand Rite. I haven't decided.

All very intriguing, but I'm sure you're wondering what any of this has to do with the actual practice of magic. Well for one thing, it could potentially provide a means of gauging a magic-wielder's ability by assessing what level of enchantment they are able to cast single-handed. Even a relatively weak magician can usually cast at least a 2-spell enchantment, if not a full rite. Average magic-wielders can usually cast up to a 4-spell or 5-spell ritual. With 4 being the more common limit. More exceptional wielders can cast double rites up to 8-spell rituals, with 8 being very exceptional. Casting a 10-spell ritual single-handed is the stuff of legends, and nobody has ever lived who could cast a full 14-spell ritual let alone a Grand Ritual on their own.

And then of course, there would be beyond that simple delineation, classification of ability based on how many of a certain level of enchantments a magician can cast consecutively without draining themselves. For instance, a man may be able to cast a single double-rite once and then exhaust himself, while another may be able to consistently cast 4-spell rituals one after another for hours without exhausting himself. Generally though, the two are interrelated. Think of it like distance running where the farther you can run in one stretch, the more consecutive short-stretches you are able to run at a faster pace. So the second magician in the above example, would probably in one burst be capable of casting a 7 or 8-spell ritual.

So that's my random idea which I may never do anything with. Admittedly, it's rather nebulous to a certain degree, because I never really defined what limit there is to the single result that a spell can achieve. Because if a single spell could cause a mountain to vanish, then a magician would be very capable even if he could only cast 2-spell enchantments at the most. Of course, I have something a little more definitive in mind, it just isn't fully flushed out. But basically, spells would be simple magical commands and the more complex/involved a task you want to complete, the more spells it would require. Clearly, it needs more definition and figuring out. But I think it's a good start. Guess we'll have to wait and see if anything comes of it.

What do ya think? Interesting? Over-complicated? Brilliant? Still too undefined to decide?

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:57 pm 
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Can a ritual or rite have more than one kind of spell? Like having both singing and dancing, or even a full-scale theatrical production for the sake of magic weaving?

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:11 am 
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Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
What do ya think? Interesting? Over-complicated? Brilliant? Still to undefined to decide?

Brilliant. :cool: Though it does need clearer limitations before it could be used.

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:08 pm 
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It's really interesting...I'm somewhat confused when it comes to the double rite... :P

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:01 pm 
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I think you might make something interesting of this. On the surface, it seems a bit generic, but with a lot of names. Except... the gist of it is that of building – putting two and two together and making something else, and so on, which is sort of like how language works, and that's actually pretty cool. I had an idea, in fact.... What if one of the reasons the smaller ones (spells, and rites) aren't as good is that some of them can't even do anything much by themselves – sort of like how it's hard to be coherent when you only get to say one word? Or they might do something – but it wouldn't be as controlled, or as concentrated, maybe? It would just be a rather general – 'whooshy' sort of thing? :P * shrugs * Something like that, maybe. Anyway, it's a cool idea. And I like the vocabulary you've set up so far.


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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:39 am 
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Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Can a ritual or rite have more than one kind of spell? Like having both singing and dancing, or even a full-scale theatrical production for the sake of magic weaving?
Considering the amount of concentration involved, I imagine that it's probably easier to use spells of similar form for large enchantments. Though admittedly, I did kind of envision combining gestural spells with spoken and maybe sung spells for different enchantments.
Mistress Rwebhu Kidh wrote:
What if one of the reasons the smaller ones (spells, and rites) aren't as good is that some of them can't even do anything much by themselves – sort of like how it's hard to be coherent when you only get to say one word? Or they might do something – but it wouldn't be as controlled, or as concentrated, maybe? It would just be a rather general – 'whooshy' sort of thing? :P * shrugs * Something like that, maybe. Anyway, it's a cool idea. And I like the vocabulary you've set up so far.
That's actually part of what I envisioned! Something along the lines of many spells having such minute/specific effects that in order to do anything truly productive you have to string them together. That was just part of the idea I had trouble getting into words. Thanks for reminding me!!!
Mistress Rwebhu Kidh wrote:
I think you might make something interesting of this. On the surface, it seems a bit generic, but with a lot of names. Except... the gist of it is that of building – putting two and two together and making something else, and so on, which is sort of like how language works, and that's actually pretty cool.
Yesh! Exactly! You get it! :dieshappy:

I was actually inspired partially by yall's Lausery concept of X mapping and fractalling, pairing together smaller elements to define the larger whole. More than just your generic "repeat this phrase/concentrate and visualize/channel the force and a pig will sprout gills," type of magic, I found myself creating a magic where spellcrafting is like carefully piecing together a puzzle of exactly what you want your magic to do. A very brainy/technical/academic (aka nerdy) type of magic. I mean...if magic requires years of study (as it does in most fantasy worlds), why not give them something to actually study?

Glad y'all like it!!!

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:14 am 
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Aye, this is neat. :D

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:53 pm 
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Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
Because if a single spell could cause a mountain to vanish, then a magician would be very capable even if he could only cast 2-spell enchantments at the most.

Well, making a mountain vanish would actually be extremely complicated. We can just hold an idea of the mountain in our head, but unless the spell has a mind of its own (like a genie) you would have to define the region of the mountain using spells: like doing a vast, three-dimensional dot-to-dot enveloping every more or less major feature of the mountain.

However you could use a single, shapeless spell to remove everything in front of it, and point it at the mountain. Though you would probably need at least one more spell in tandem, to instantly fill a vacuum with air, so you do not create a vast implosion.

Of course that option would leave a vast crater, since making the removal far larger than the mountain would be the only way to keep from missing, without using a lot of complicated spells to get it centered over the mountain.


I do not think it could be over-complicated unless it does not make sense, and, so far, it makes perfect sense.

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:00 pm 
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This is really cool, and has a tremendous amount of story potential. This is the kind of solid, understandable world building that makes a book enjoyable to read. :D

And reading through this forum makes me want to work with magic again... o.O

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:21 am 
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Constable Jaynin Mimetes wrote:
And reading through this forum makes me want to work with magic again... o.O
*chants* Land law! Land law! Land law! ;)

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:24 pm 
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Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
An enchantment is a system of 2 or more consecutive spells cast with a related intent. From a theoretical perspective, if a spell is a command, then an enchantment is a set of orders. But from a more pragmatic view, an enchantment is any 2 or more spells cast together.


For me, the word "enchantment" primarily conveys the idea of something permanent or long-lasting. For example, an enchantment might make a sword forever sharp, or make a princess sleep for a hundred years, but to say that calling down lightning is an "enchantment" would sound decidedly odd, even if it took a combination of several different effects.

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:47 am 
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Tsahraf ChahsidMimetes wrote:
Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
Because if a single spell could cause a mountain to vanish, then a magician would be very capable even if he could only cast 2-spell enchantments at the most.

Well, making a mountain vanish would actually be extremely complicated. We can just hold an idea of the mountain in our head, but unless the spell has a mind of its own (like a genie) you would have to define the region of the mountain using spells: like doing a vast, three-dimensional dot-to-dot enveloping every more or less major feature of the mountain.

Yeah...that's what I mean by over-complicated. Beyond that, most medieval people (and that's the general cultural setting that I usually work in) would not think nearly so specific. Especially for things like preventing implosions, and vacuums, and such. They wouldn't have the scientific understanding to know about that. Unless I chose to use this in a more scientifically savvy world, which would mean creating one, and I don't see that happening any time soon.

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:49 am 
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kingjon wrote:
Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
An enchantment is a system of 2 or more consecutive spells cast with a related intent. From a theoretical perspective, if a spell is a command, then an enchantment is a set of orders. But from a more pragmatic view, an enchantment is any 2 or more spells cast together.


For me, the word "enchantment" primarily conveys the idea of something permanent or long-lasting. For example, an enchantment might make a sword forever sharp, or make a princess sleep for a hundred years, but to say that calling down lightning is an "enchantment" would sound decidedly odd, even if it took a combination of several different effects.
Hmmm...yeah... I hadn't thought of that, but I do see how it can have that kind of connotation. *shrugs* Oh well! I'm too lazy to think of another arcane word, so I'll probably just stick with it anyways. ;) But thanks for pointing that out! :D

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:56 am 
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Constable Jaynin Mimetes wrote:
And reading through this forum makes me want to work with magic again... o.O
*unfolds hand in a silky, inviting gesture *
Please... come inside.

kingjon wrote:
to say that calling down lightning is an "enchantment" would sound decidedly odd, even if it took a combination of several different effects.
Well, I think enchantment used to be used that way, in older times.

"Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."

Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
Unless I chose to use this in a more scientifically savvy world,
People who developed something as intricate as finding out how to work magic would be quite savvy.
But this does not mean that the entire culture would be savvy: in the old days there were the geniuses, and the common people. In an advanced society, more people are savvy, but no individual people are as savvy as the geniuses of the past.

Fairfeet the Seer wrote:
Oh well! I'm too lazy to think of another arcane word,
Some ideas would be: incantation, cast, charm, transmutation, conjuration, conjuring, cantrap, bewitchment. I only thought of four of them by the way, the rest were from thesaurus.com.

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:30 am 
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Tsahraf ChahsidMimetes wrote:
kingjon wrote:
to say that calling down lightning is an "enchantment" would sound decidedly odd, even if it took a combination of several different effects.
Well, I think enchantment used to be used that way, in older times.

"Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."

That illustrates my point, actually. When a staff was changed into a snake, by magic or by the miracle, it stayed a snake. Just like an "enchanted sleep" is sleep until the enchantment is broken. Whereas the plague of hail (if duplicated by magic) wouldn't be, because (if I recall correctly) it caused hail to fall for a certain period of time, not until Moses asked for it to stop.

Tsahraf ChahsidMimetes wrote:
cantrap

I've met "cantrip" (which, in the contexts I've seen, is a word for an absolutely trivial and sometimes useless spell, like a "Hello World" program for a computer programmer), but never "cantrap" ...

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 Post subject: Re: A random idea for a magic system
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:40 am 
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Ok, so in the Lovelace-friendly edition of this system, any construct of two or more spells is called a "galdor" (Anglo-Saxon word for "spell" or "incantation"). Meanwhile, in the normal system we'll stick with "enchantment". Everyone happy now?

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