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 Post subject: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionists
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:41 am 
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I've never tried to make a magic system before, but I've been reading too much Brandon Sanderson recently and now my brain is going through a phase where I'm full of ideas. Result: This. :) Don't feel the need to read it all, please. But if you do read some, I would love to hear any criticisms, questions, or whatever other comments you may have. And please tell me if you notice similarities to magic systems in other books you've seen!

The system itself is fairly simple - I'm more interested in the effects it would have on the world. The basic idea is that some people (who I call illusionists) have the power to project illusions of sensory data onto other people (or themselves). Each illusionist can only affect one sense - sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell. So basically, you can make somebody else hallucinate, but only with one sense.

To project an illusion onto somebody, you need to focus on them and then imagine clearly what the illusion would look like (or sound like, or smell like...). You can focus on multiple people, but that requires more concentration. It also gets more difficult to focus on somebody as they move away from you, though you can focus on someone who is not in your line of sight; you just need to be strongly aware of where they are. Illusionists also need to be able to imagine, in detail, what their illusions look (or sound or smell...) like. So you're in trouble if you don't have knowledge of what you're trying to produce, or if you just don't have a very vivid imagination. I, for instance, would be a terrible visual illusionist because I don't imagine images in much detail at all. But I think I would be a good auditory illusionist since I can remember voices and music very clearly.

Both focusing on your target and imagining your illusion requires mental energy and concentration, so if you were tired or distracted you might not be able to do as much. Maybe your images or sounds would be kind of blurry, or maybe you couldn't do something as detailed, or affect as many people. And also, if you aren't projecting your illusion onto yourself, you need to be aware of reality and your illusion at the same time so you don't mix them up. This gets even more complicated when you're projecting multiple illusions at once onto different people while still trying to keep track of reality.

Illusions would also not be too difficult to spot. They might blur or fuzz as the illusionist's focus wavered, though this would probably only be noticeable with the visual, auditory and somatic (touch) senses. And an illusion would only be present in one sense, since each illusionist can only affect one sense. So say you're projecting a visual illusion onto a man so he think there's somebody in front of him. If he tries to touch your illusion, his hand will go right though it and then he'll realize what's going on.

But then if multiple illusionists with different powers were able to work together, they could create multisensory illusions that would be much more difficult to spot, and thus more powerful. Working together introduces its own problems, though, since each illusionist would not be able to see the others' work (or even the results of their own!) unless they are being projected on by their teammates. But projecting your illusions on all your teammates requires quite a bit of extra energy, since the more people you project on, the more concentration it requires. So some skilled groups of illusionists will work together without projecting on each other, instead using one of two methods. The first is to get a less powerful illusionist to project regular pulses of color, sound, feeling, taste, or smell onto the other teammates, to produce a sort of "beat" for them to follow. So the auditory guy knows to start talking at beat 3, the touch guy knows to project the feeling of being punched at beat 14, &c. Another way is to have one teammate serve as a sort of go-between. All his/her teammates will project onto him/her (which does add extra overhead, but not as much as projecting onto the whole team), and then s/he'll project something onto a teammate whenever said teammate needs to be notified of something, like when they need to start talking. The first method is simpler and requires less extra projecting, but it's very rigid and scripted. The second method requires a skilled go-between who can think and project quickly, and it has a little extra overhead, but it's a lot more flexible.

Every person is more or less receptive to illusions - some people are easier to project on, and others are a bit more difficult to project on, but there isn't that much variance. Much more rarely, however, people are actually immune to one or more types of illusions - maybe .5% of the population has one or more immunities. Complete immunity to all types of illusions is extremely rare.

Illusionist powers are genetic, and they're are fairly common in the society I'm envisioning - maybe 10% of the population has some sort of power. Visualists are the more common, auditorists and gustatorists (taste illusionists) are the next most common, somaticists (touch illusionists) are the most common after that, and olfactorists (smell illusionists) are the rarest. However, there isn't an even distribution of illusionists among social classes - they would be much more common among the middle class than in the low or high classes, since illusionists most often have jobs that land them in the middle class. Also, this distribution of powers might be different among other races with different gene pools.

Illusionists in society - e.g., how they function in one specific society that I'm particularly interested in; this same world would probably have other countries with illusionists that function differently

The government has a keen interest in using skilled illusionists to help in warfare, diplomacy, control of the general population, etc. It finds visualists, auditorists and somaticists especially useful, so it runs free schools for them. After all, you need a lot of knowledge and practice in order to create convincing illusions and project them skillfully. So visualists might learn how to imagine realistic people, how to imitate handwriting, how to portray all sorts of objects, &c, while auditorists learn about creating voices and memorize lots of odd sounds, and so on. When you go to one of these schools, you get an initial education as a child, and then when you're an adult (however this government defines "adult") they put you to work in the government as you continue a more in-depth education. Every year or so you take an exam to see if you can handle the next level of illusory skill. Eventually you reach your personal limit, and then you graduate with a certificate saying how far you got. If you did decently well, the government will probably have a job for you.

Skilled visualists, auditorists and somaticists are extremely powerful and dangerous, so the government would generally want to control them...but the fact is that it's very difficult to become that skilled without a good illusionist education. So the government just holds the monopoly on visual, auditory and somatic illusionist education - any other schools or teachers offering such training are shut down or just nationalized. So if you don't like the government and don't want to go to their school or work for them - fine! Don't go to their school, and then you'll never be very powerful and won't be much of a threat. If you DO go to the school, the government will know tons about you, your family, and your friends, since you've been living there since you were a child. It will also probably offer you a decent job. Most people are not going to risk the well-being of people they love and sacrifice a comfortable, secure job (government jobs are notoriously secure) in order to defy the government with their powers. (And also, the government does let illusionist grads of their schools work for other entities if they don't want to work for the government, but most people DO want to work for the government because the job is so secure.)

Gustatorists and olfactorists are not quite so useful to the government as other types of illusionists, so they usually need to pay for a private school to get an illusionist education. Afterwards, they usually get good jobs with independent people and companies, often through their schools. They're also not as dangerous, so the government doesn't really feel the need to control them.

Job prospects for illusionists, both in and out of the government, are quite good. The Big Three (visualists, auditorists, and somaticists) work in the government doing interrogation (sometimes involving torture courtesy of the somaticists, who can create illusions of pain), influencing public opinion (imagine how useful illusionists would be to a dictator who doesn't want anyone to know that he's sick - he could make all sorts of public appearances without getting out of bed), meddling with politics in all kinds of ways, confusing enemies on the battlefield (wait, where did the other army go?!), getting rid of undesirables (whether by driving them insane or just killing them), and so on. The governments occasionally also finds gustatorists and olfactorists useful at banquets, assassinations and other such important events. (Actually, the classic olfactorist goverment job is accompanying bigwigs as they visit areas that don't smell good, like poor sections of town, and projecting pleasant smells onto said bigwig to displace the real ones.)

Outside of the government, illusionists are fantastic performers. Auditorists can replace whole orchestras (so long as their audience isn't too big so that they can't focus on everyone!), and they can sing really well, too. But if you get a quintet of all five types of illusionists together, you can produce incredibly - frighteningly! - immersive entertainment. Illusionists will put on plays with all kinds of insane special effects (because if you can imagine it, you can use it), music that's impossible to play, and tactile sensations, smells and tastes project on the audience. (A movie from Earth with nothing but sound and video would seem pretty pitiful to people from this society.)

Gustatorists and olfactorists get great work in restaurants and any other place where there's money or food. Their prevalence has led to restaurants there working quite differently from those on Earth. Restaurants might give you a choice of different meats, breads, etc. and then have you sit in different sections of the restaurant according to what flavor you want. Then each section will have a gustatorist and maybe an olfactorist projecting that flavor onto everyone there, on top of the flavor of their meat or bread or whatever else. Fancy restaurants that can afford to hire lots of illusionists have much more variety than cheap restaurants with only a few. There would still be non-gustatorist-enhanced food around, though - that's what people would eat at home, after all. Most gustatorists would also need to try real versions of the flavors they want to project before they can create illusions of them. But maybe one of the special things about going to a restaurant instead of eating at home is that you have illusionists there making your food taste better.

Illusionists would also be able to help people, particularly the disabled, in other ways. Visual illusionists could help blind people by staying with them all the time and constantly projecting an image of the real world onto the blind person, and auditorists could do much the same for the deaf. (Illusionists affect the brain, though, so if somebody was blind or deaf because of certain types of brain damage instead of damage to their eyes or ears, then an illusionist wouldn't be able to help them.) Somaticists could stop people from feeling pain - they're in great demand at hospitals. A really skilled somaticist can also use illusions to replace anesthesia. Gustatorists and olfactorists could help people eat more healthfully - somebody could eat healthy but bland food while these illusionists project flavors onto it.

But illusionist powers would also be rather useful for criminals. In general an illusionist of any skill wouldn't need to resort to crime, but here and there it does happen. All five kinds of illusionists can produce great distractions and fake evidence very nicely. But this also means that courts in their world are a lot more skeptical of evidence than courts in our world. Photographs would be very important, since if you take a photograph of an illusion and then bring it out of range of the illusionist, the illusion won't be there anymore.

In general, I imagine that this society would develop all sorts of little ways to detect illusions. Greetings would involve speaking to and touching each other, since if you can see, hear and touch somebody it's a lot less likely that they're an illusion. Sellers would make sure to touch money that buyers are giving to them, and maybe it would also be normal to drop coins into a little metal bowl to make sure they produce a sound before accepting them. Walls around important buildings would have complex patterns that makes it harder for illusionists to make themselves invisible (since you do invisibility by projecting an image of what would be there instead of you onto everybody who could see you. If what's there instead of you is really complicated - like a fancy wall - you'll have more difficulty projecting it clearly onto lots of people). The culture would also be a lot more skeptical, I think. People would be quicker to distrust their senses than we are on Earth.

I also imagine that this society would have a religion that's against the use of illusions. Some members of the religion would come down hard and say that illusions are always evil, even when people know they're being projected on (for instance, in a restaurant). Others would say that illusions are only okay when people know they're being projected on, and that what they're seeing is an illusion. But both would accept illusionists who help the blind or deaf, and maybe also somaticists who help treat pain. Maybe illusionists from this religion usually use their skills to help people in these ways. Maybe they're known for being reliable and trustworthy. Maybe then people of this religion become so in demand for their services to the disabled that people start to join the religion just so they can get a good job...

Oh, one thing I forgot: what happens with people immune to illusions? Well, it's pretty easy to test even very young children to see if they're immune to different types of illusions just by projecting an illusion on them that should provoke a response and seeing if it does. Taste and smell take a little longer to test, but those immunities are not quite as significant. Anyways, the government requires that all children be tested for immunities before they can get a birth certificate or some other important document (I'm not sure what it'll be yet). Then if the child is immune to at least one significant type of illusion - say, visual illusions - the government will take them to a special school to be trained for service in the government. Their family can still visit them, but the government is going to keep a tight hold over this child because s/he's so valuable to them. They need to make sure that s/he's going to be committed to the government since s/he'll probably be place in a position of great trust. In the end, immune people usually serve in law enforcement and in courts, and they also help take care of children at illusionist schools. (Because it's a lot more pleasant to care for young visualists when they can't make you hallucinate vividly when they're annoyed.) While immune people do get good jobs, they are left out of many large parts of society, depending on what immunities they have. Those immune to gustatory illusions can't ever eat many kinds of food, since they're entirely illusion-produced. Those immune to visual or auditory or even other kinds of illusions miss out on a lot when they go to illusion plays.

So there you go. I think this would be an interesting background for a story, but I'll see.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:14 pm 
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On the Illusion note

Look up Aizen Souske with the keyword "Kyoka Suigetsu"

He quite literally has the ability of what you have up there, only his power acts through a magnifier/focal point (his sword), he can hit several people at a time, he affects all five senses-

And he is a bad guy.


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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:48 am 
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Interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:06 pm 
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I will read through this as soon as I can and get you feedback, sheesania! It sounds really interesting from the little I gleaned through.

Areth.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:45 am 
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Thank you! :) I'm still cogitating on what sort of stories and themes and such could work well with this background.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:20 am 
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Fascinating. I like the way you've essentially adapted elemental powers but over senses rather than elements.

Isn't there a lot of crossover between gustatorists and olfactorists, since those two senses are closely linked? Can somaticists give people phantom pains or itches? Can they just numb someone's sense instead of casting an illusion?

I bet the ones who work in food and entertainment get a lot of great working vacations...

Would the picture ever have something in it at all? Because the camera doesn't know something is being projected, so wouldn't the illusionist have to project an image onto the paper/camera screen and the floor? Are illusions easier to detect if you have glasses or hearing aids so that the image or sound is sharper than it ought to be as though it's photoshopped? I bet tinted glasses would really help with that... Or black and white settings on cameras, if the illusion was impressed on the floor and the screen...

Why aren't there more illusionists among the rich? Wouldn't they still be rich if they had those skills?

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:45 pm 
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Okay! I finally read it. :D

Nice! I like this magic system, and how you've integrated it into the world so thoroughly. I think that's pretty awesome.

But here's a question. Where does the government get its power? I mean, have there always been illusionists? Or did illusionists show up and then the government acted to make them tools of the government? Because that's what it seems like right now to me.
It seems like you're projecting these illusionists onto a normal society, rather than starting your very first building block with the illusionists as an integral part of the society.

Meaning this. If you think about it, illusionists of the big three are pretty powerful. So if you have a society and civilization developing, who's going to end up on top? The most powerful.
And that is....? The very smart and very skilled illusionists.
To me, it would make more sense in-world to have illusionists as integral parts of the government, because they have the power, rather than being exclusively used by the government, which is the picture I picked up from what you wrote.

All of what you did was great, though. This is a fascinating world. :cool:

Areth.

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 Post subject: Re: An idea for a magic (cobha?) system - Sensory Illusionis
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 6:11 pm 
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Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Fascinating. I like the way you've essentially adapted elemental powers but over senses rather than elements.

Thanks! :) I'm thinking of splitting somatic illusion powers into two kinds of power, though - maybe one over external touch sensations (like pressure, texture, &c) and another over internal touch sensations (like pain, sense of where your body parts are, &c).

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Isn't there a lot of crossover between gustatorists and olfactorists, since those two senses are closely linked?

There is a lot of crossover, and so I imagine that gustatorists and olfactorists would often work together when creating illusions of flavor. However, olfactorists are much rarer than gustatorists, so you can't always hire both. Cheaper restaurants, for example, would only hire gustatorists. So maybe they'd tend to serve distinctive foods whose flavor relies more on your taste buds than your nose...or they would only use spices that would affect the smell, and rely on gustatorists to provide the other elements of flavor...

I personally have never noticed food tasting strange when I can't smell properly, so I do have trouble sometimes respecting the science that says smell is a large part of flavor. :)

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Can somaticists give people phantom pains or itches?

Yup!

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Can they just numb someone's sense instead of casting an illusion?

They would project an illusion of there being no information coming from that sense. So an illusion of silence or numbness, for instance. This is pretty difficult to do, though, since the more sensory information you're changing with your illusion, the more concentration it requires to sustain it.

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
I bet the ones who work in food and entertainment get a lot of great working vacations...

Oh yes. :) I envy the visualist theater worker who gets to look at pretty pictures of scenery all day to prepare the set for a new illusionist play...

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Would the picture ever have something in it at all? Because the camera doesn't know something is being projected, so wouldn't the illusionist have to project an image onto the paper/camera screen and the floor?

Illusionists project onto somebody's brain, and then the brain interprets the signals as it would any other sensory information from the eyes, nose, &c. Thus illusionists can make somebody's mind think that a picture has something in it, but there's no way that they can affect the actual picture. So basically, illusionists just affect people's minds - they never actually change reality.

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Are illusions easier to detect if you have glasses or hearing aids so that the image or sound is sharper than it ought to be as though it's photoshopped? I bet tinted glasses would really help with that... Or black and white settings on cameras, if the illusion was impressed on the floor and the screen...

Yes! Great idea! You could check if something is a visual illusion by covertly looking at it through tinted glasses, so the illusionist isn't aware that you're using glasses. If the image doesn't change as it should, then you know it's an illusion. Or maybe if you were looking for auditory illusions, you could wear tiny hearing-aid-like devices that somehow affect all the sounds coming through it...so then if you hear a sound that hasn't been affected by the device, you know that it's an auditory illusion.

Lady Kitra Skene wrote:
Why aren't there more illusionists among the rich? Wouldn't they still be rich if they had those skills?

Well, let me rephrase that. I think there would still be plenty of illusionists among the rich, but not that many professional illusionists. See, most illusionist jobs are middle-class - they involve skilled mental labor and pay pretty well. They're attractive to people from the low or middle class. But someone from the high class wouldn't want to lower themselves to a job like that. People from the rich high classes would typically have leadership and management sorts of jobs, not jobs involving what they consider "labor", even if it is mental and skilled. The high class might find higher-level illusionist jobs, like certain secret work for the government, higher-level teaching, &c more satisfactory, but they wouldn't have a great chance of getting those jobs.

An analogy: Imagine that you were born with a talent for composition, so that you love creating music and are pretty good at it. But you really don't want to just be your average or even your above-average composer who isn't that well known. You'll only be satisfied as a professional composer if you can be really famous. But there isn't a big chance of your becoming that famous. So you decide to instead pursue some other job that you have a lower standard of success for and just compose for fun on the side. I think this is how rich illusionists would usually act. Most illusionist jobs are below them; they have a very small chance of getting a job that fits their station in society. So they'd probably pursue something else and perhaps just learn how to use their powers for fun.

Karthmin wrote:
Okay! I finally read it.

Nice! I like this magic system, and how you've integrated it into the world so thoroughly. I think that's pretty awesome.

Thanks! :D

Karthmin wrote:
Where does the government get its power? I mean, have there always been illusionists? Or did illusionists show up and then the government acted to make them tools of the government?

Thanks for bringing this up! I have thought about this some (though probably not as much as I should!), and here's the answer. It goes back to my thoughts on how this world initially came to be.

So, in the universe that this world and that Sheesania are both in, there's a race of very intelligent, advanced beings called Sheesans who have various settlements and projects going on all over the universe. Sheesans originally brought humans to Sheesania, from Earth, as part of an experiment. Some time later on (maybe 2000 BC, or 800 BC? not sure), they brought humans to the illusionist world as part of another experiment. These humans just woke up one day in the illusionist world having no memory of ever getting there, but with all their other memories intact. The only new thing they knew was a language that the Sheesans developed and gave to them so everyone could communicate, as the people they chose for the experiment were from all different races, groups, &c as well as from different parts of society.

These people had nothing except the clothes they were wearing and the natural resources around them, so people who knew how to use those natural resources became the most valuable and powerful in the resulting new society. Farmers, hunters, &c were on top, because they controlled the food and they were also the only ones who could make good weapons from the supplies they had at hand - there were skilled workers like blacksmiths among the settlers, but they didn't have the resources like iron ore needed for their crafts. Now a lot of these farmers and hunters had been oppressed by the upper classes in their old societies, so in retaliation many of them treated those weak in the new society badly, since they were the same people who had once oppressed them. So basically you ended up with a farming upper-class and a lower-class skilled in various crafts that are only useful in a more advanced society.

Once this new society was just barely stable, the Sheesans gave about half of the population illusionist powers. This had been the whole point of their experiment all along - to see how people would use illusionist powers.

The lower-class noticed their new powers first, and were quick to use them to try to get more food and other resources. The upper-class soon realized what was going on, though, and began to retaliate. Eventually the situation became a full war. Visualists and somaticists are incredibly dangerous in combat, so at first hundreds of people were killed by these kinds of illusionists. Once people realized what they were facing, many of them fled and tried to live on their own, but they often couldn't survive or just got into deadly conflicts of their own. Others joined powerful visualists and somaticists in hopes of being protected...but then said visualists and somaticists began to focus their energies on killing each other to take more power, which often involved slaughtering the illusionist's followers. In short, there was chaos. People were dying, valuable resources like food were being destroyed, and society was falling apart.

One of the most powerful visualists who had gained a following was a man who I'm going to call Eteroos for now; the name's subject to change, though. He was one of the original settlers and had been the son of an important nobleman back in his old society on Earth, so he had experience with leadership and power. For a while Eteroos used his powers to try to militarily defeat the other illusionists, hoping to stop the fighting and re-establish society...but soon he became convinced that it would be a long time before he could defeat everyone else, and that if the fighting didn't stop soon, it would be extremely difficult for anyone left to survive because so much had been destroyed. (Even natural resources were getting ruined - forests burned, streams poisoned, &c.) So he stopped fighting, gathered as many people as he could, and retreated to the top of a large hill where he could easily spot anyone that was coming. There he used his illusionist powers to hide the people staying there.

Eteroos told his followers that he believed they would all die if they did not let him control them and place restrictions on how illusionists could use their powers. Most of the people were non-illusionists or weak illusionists and so they were happy to oblige, but a few were more powerful and weren't quite as willing to submit to Eteroos's will. However, they soon discovered that he would personally kill any insubordinate illusionists. Non-illusionists who didn't obey him might get mercy, but illusionists would be killed without pity, simply because their powers made them so potentially dangerous. So soon all his followers that were left were willing to obey him as long as he continued protecting them.

Eteroos then trained squads of his followers to infiltrate other groups, kill their leaders and other dangerous illusionists, and tell their followers about Eteroos's safe haven on the top of the hill. He allowed people to join him, but only in small groups. Then his followers could watch them carefully for a while to make sure that none of them were dangerous illusionists who would cause problems.

Eventually all the other groups had joined Eteroos, been killed, or gotten small enough that they weren't a threat, and so Eteroos and his followers left their hill and began to establish a new society with Eteroos as king. It was at this point that he finally began to openly teach a new religion that had been slowly developing during the time on the hill. He taught that humans and their old world had been made by the (good) Gods of Order, but then some humans had been taken by the (evil) Gods of Chaos to this new world. Because they were still children of Order, though, they soon began to form a stable society (that was the society with the farmers and hunters on top, though really it was hardly stable). This angered the Gods of Chaos, who then cursed them with illusionist powers, so that now humans had elements of both Order and Chaos. But if they controlled their illusionist powers and used them to build a stable civilization, Eteroos said, they would be returning to their original good state of Order, resisting the evils of Chaos. His system was basically dualistic - by doing good things, you helped the good Gods of Order; by doing bad things, especially bad things using illusionist powers, you helped the evil Gods of Chaos.

In this system, Eteroos had himself as the chief representative of the Gods of Order to humankind, and thus he had the authority to be king and control how illusionist powers were used. Nobody wanted to defy him because 1) he was so personally powerful, and 2) he was so popular for having saved them and ended the war. So Eteroos established a system of law that punished crimes committed using illusionist powers especially harshly, and he continued to pound his religious ideas into the minds of his followers. He wanted everyone to think that illusionist powers, if not controlled (by him, of course), were evil. It was evil to murder someone, yes, but if you murdered someone using your visualist powers, that was like murdering someone and sacrificing them to Satan: you were actively, knowingly supporting the evil Gods of Chaos as well as doing something bad.

Eteroos had killed so many illusionists in his rise to power that now only about 8% of the population even had illusionist powers. He kept a careful watch on all these people. Through his religion he tried to make the rest of society suspicious of them, but still willing to accept them if they didn't use their powers...or, even better, used them for good. And the only way to use them for good was to control them as the Gods of Order would have you control them...and Eteroos was the messenger of the Gods of Order. So he became the source for all illusionist training and jobs. At first he just personally trained a very few illusionists and then had them work closely with him. But over time, as his hold on society became more established, he felt comfortable training more illusionists and also having others under him doing training.

It's been thousands of years in the illusionist world since Eteroos established his society, but much of what he did still lingers. Other countries with different attitudes towards illusionists have split off from Eteroos's country, and even Eteroos's country has gotten more lax. The religious climate has also changed - there have been all sorts of new religions and new offshoots of Eteroos's ideas developed. But in many countries, using illusions for crime still has an air to it of evil. In this world there might be stories about cute street urchins picking pockets, but they would never use illusions to do so. The one using illusions would be the evil abusive crime boss. So basically, in this world most people - both illusionists and non-illusionists - have a sense that illusionist powers are something tainted, maybe even evil, and that they need to be controlled...and that the body best able to control them is the government, ordained by the Gods of Order. So in the end the government gets their power over illusionists from a religious idea, from something deeply ingrained in culture, from people's fear of chaos.

I imagine the society I talked about in my first post as the descendant of Eteroos's kingdom, the one that has most closely kept with his governmental structure and ideas. But there are plenty of other countries in this world that treat illusionist powers differently.

Karthmin wrote:
To me, it would make more sense in-world to have illusionists as integral parts of the government, because they have the power, rather than being exclusively used by the government, which is the picture I picked up from what you wrote.

Hmm, I'm not sure if I made myself clear, or maybe I'm misunderstanding you. :) Even though they are used by the government, illusionists are also integral parts of it; they're just not necessarily the top leaders. Illusionists form significant segments of the army, police force, spy network, &c and thus are much of the backbone of the government's power. But the top leaders in the government aren't necessarily illusionists themselves. Think about the US government. Some parts of it have a sort of raw power: the army, the police force. But the leaders controlling the raw power - Congress, the President - have other sorts of power: popularity with the people, connections, knowledge, personal charisma and strength of will. It's similar in this illusionist society. Good illusionists have a sort of raw power that would allow them to take control if they wanted - just like the army could probably take over the US government if it wanted. But people with more subtle powers still rule over the illusionists, just as politicians with more subtle powers still control the army.

The fact that illusionist powers are associated with Chaos and the government with Order gives a certain balancing tension to this relationship. The illusionists have a raw power over the government - if they wanted they could use their powers to take over. But the government is the representative of Order and, thus, good. So if the illusionists DID try to take over, most of society would see them as the bad guys. So in the end, the government is going to try to keep the illusionists happy, but the illusionists are also going to try to keep the government happy, because both could ruin each other in different ways - the illusionists could ruin the government physically; the government could ruin the illusionists in the realm of public support.

Okay, I hope I've understood and answered your question thoroughly, even though I'm sick and I think that answer was a bit rambling. :) Thanks again!

_________________
Alison
~~
http://www.sheesania.com

"For Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:10


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