Magic in Errant Story

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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Graybeard » September 4th, 2009, 5:23 pm

pillar_of_hate wrote:I'm not remotely involved in Errant Road but, since this was posted to the front page, I do have a question.

It is written that magic, like music and other skills, requires measures of both talent and practice to be useful, but IRL I can think of people for which that does not apply: autistic savants. Are there any equivalents in ES, people who have intellectual or social developmental problems but whose innate wizardly abilities put master sorcerers to shame? Or would anyone like that be derided as idiots or burned as witches, etc?

I suppose that might cross the line into "uncomfortable aspects of the real world" that people generally use fantasy for escaping.


Very interesting question.

I can't speak for Errant Story, obviously. However, in Errant Road (which does not and cannot fit the Poe-verse model of magic "exactly," for the simple reason that we players are not Poe and therefore don't know "exactly" what that model is), such equivalents can and do exist. Examples:
  • The Errant who wandered into Kugelheim and made all the flowers in Faye's front yard die simply by walking among them.
  • Young Jason Hamael doesn't necessarily have "intellectual or social developmental problems" beyond those normal for a 4-year-old, but not many 4-year-olds can kill you with a word, either...
  • Heck, even Kureji has "social developmental problems" that would likely compel her to be treated (if not outright institutionalized) if she wasn't so magically awesome (of course, "rich" doesn't hurt either).
In my opinion it is entirely reasonable for such magical autistic savants to exist. Regardless of which not-quite-correct model for understanding magic comes closest to "right," there appears to be room for completely inexplicable "wiring" of the autistic-savant mage, either in his/her internal wiring or in his/her connection to whatever extradimensional world magic exists in. Besides, it makes for a fun game...
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Viking-Sensei » September 4th, 2009, 10:21 pm

Actually, might not the Autistic savants technically be the real, original "Errants" of Errant Story before the elves came to apply the term to the much wider populace of all half-elves?
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Graybeard » September 4th, 2009, 10:36 pm

Viking-Sensei wrote:Actually, might not the Autistic savants technically be the real, original "Errants" of Errant Story before the elves came to apply the term to the much wider populace of all half-elves?

Fair question, but I don't think so. Errantcy is a matter of there being Something Wrong (tm) with the way a half elf works, owing to flaws in that "template" that Poe told us about, way back when. Presumably autistic savantry could be among the things resulting from that buggy template, but in general, it isn't. The majority of the damaged half elves we've seen -- Evelyn, Leah, Riley, the others in Santuariel -- had no social/developmental impairments, just something physically wrong and unfixable (at least until Ian came along). They didn't have any magical skillz, either. Even Derren Felmel, whose messy end got the story kicked off (so to speak) way back in the prologue, was missing the "savant" part of the package, although I'd certainly agree that the developmental-impairment part was there in spades.

In any event, I don't think we've seen Errants in the main story who are capable of things equivalent to some of the astounding stuff that Autistic savants can do. That certainly isn't to say that there couldn't be any, however, and for Errant Road purposes, it's been convenient to postulate a few.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Graybeard » March 9th, 2012, 5:09 pm

This thread has lain idle for a VERY long time, but with the end of Errant Story upon us, I'm wondering whether it might be time to re-examine an offer Impy made Way Back When, with the idea of it becoming a regular feature once comics in the Poe-verse resume.
Imp-Chan wrote:An Overview of Magic in the Errant Universe

[many deletia]

Now, all that said, there's still an awful lot more to cover when it comes to magic and how it works in the ES universe. I could continue to make posts like this one about all the different aspects, but I think it might be more fun to handle this in a more interactive way by just starting a new mage school-oriented RPG thread, "Professor Noriko's Introduction to Magic." (my emphasis added -- GB) That way I could continue to talk about all this different magic stuff as Poe and I work it out, but it'd be in a more entertaining and memorable format. There could be lectures, Q&A, and even "labs," though it would have to be slightly more actively GMed if it's to do the job of figuring out what can or can't happen magically. Would there be interest in a thread like that? It doesn't offer anywhere near the level of adventure, but I think it could still have some entertaining moments.

^-^'

I think this is a fantastic idea, even though Errant Road to date has not included such a thread. Now is not the time to introduce this thread, what with Errant Story coming to an end and a resulting sag in readership likely. However, when comics resume, it would be great if this mage-school thread was part of the startup. That would get the next round of RPG'ing off to a fast start, while there's still a large, fresh audience to tap into to do it.

Impy, would you still be willing to do this at some date in the indefinite future? If so, starting to talk about the logistics and mechanics of the thing, without anything committal, may already be to the point, since we'd like to have all that worked out by the time Errant Tales (or Errant Song or Errant Myth or Errant Legend or Errant Ruminations or Errant Rumor/Innuendo/Hearsay or whatever) begin.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Jack Rothwell » July 12th, 2012, 3:28 am

I don't know whether this warrants a separate thread or not. But since a lot of the characters I've created lately use unusual magic I thought this would be the best place to offer more detail.

So, on that note...


Kobold Magic

As described in the 'races' thread. Kobold magic is largely internalized and, as a result, does not stack up well in a fight against a typical magic user (wards, destrucive magic, etc). For the most part it is magic for increasing the capabilities of the caster and people the caster can make physical contact with. Given the fast metabolism of the species, overuse of any spell type can quickly exhaust the mage, even necessitate a nap for the kobold to recover (on the flipside, that same metabolism allows the caster to recover more quickly than a longer lived user). Kobold spells cannot be used in conjunction with each other.

Known spells include...

Hummingbird- Increases the casters speed to a blur, enabling them to cover hundreds of yards in a matter of seconds and attack with a flurry of claw swipes. The spell does not increase the accuracy of the attacks however, and burns the kobold out if used for longer than around 25-30 seconds (depending on mana and physical conditioning).

Titan strike- A very short increase to the caster's power. Enabling them to deliver a single attack at around three times their normal physical strength. Repetitive use causes exhaustion quickly.

Bark skin- A brief increase to the kobold's physical toughness, reducing the effectiveness of physical attacks by half for around 5 seconds.

Eagle-eye- A brief boost (5 seconds) to the caster's accuracy, typically used in conjunction with a longbow on a difficult target.

Heal- As a normal cure spell but limited to physical contact with the injured.

Cure Ailment- An umberella term for the various spells the kobolds have learned for dealing with things like the bites from the poisonous animals of the southern continent, nausea, headaches, and other illnesses.

Infuse target- Through contact, the caster can transfer a spell effect like bark skin or strength boost to another person. The action, however, increases the speed the caster becomes exhausted (by about 25%).

Infuse object- The caster can infuses an inanimate (living or not) object with raw magical energy, causing effects like making plants grow, material revert to their 'natural' state (wooden planks into trees for example) or weapons to become magical for a single attack. Has same effect to exhaustion as 'infuse target'.


Ralkin Magic

Ralkin magic has been largely forgotten by the world, even the elves that created the practice are thousands of years removed from the last practitioner of the art (at least as far as the Ralkin know). It is often branded as 'corrupting' by observers given the psychological side-effects of using it. The truth is that the practice of Ralkin magic but doesn't 'turn the user evil' in the literal sense. A better comparison would be giving a drink to a potentially violent alcoholic, creating a set of circumstances where they are more likely to behave badly, but not forcing them to do so. And, like a drug, the practice can be addictive, the casters reporting a sense of euphoria when utilizing it, and after the other side-effects have died away.
The central focus of the magic is control. Controlling summoned creatures, controlling the emotions of other people, controlling the caster's own body. Known Ralkin spell's include.

Summoning- The practice of drawing modified animals or magical apparitions through the use of symbols, visualization and creating a 'link' between the caster and the creature they wish to draw. Although several of a creature can be summoned at once, different types can't be. Summoned monsters include:

Silka- A small mouse-like creature used for surveillance purposes. Typical side-effects from summoning the silka are paranoia and increased heart rate.

Galdy- A big cat with venomous fangs typically used as shock troops and bodyguards. Side-effects from summoning include increased aggression and megalomania.

Vilahar- A vampire bat-like creature used for aerial surveillance in night-time conditions (has heat vision) and, occasionally, spread disease to a specific target. Side-effects include temporarily reduced vision and craving for blood.

Chittorick- A large insect-like creature with tough armor plating and a hive mind used for high-risk and underground missions. Side-effects; emotional detachment and 'blank outs'.

Chittorick matriarch- Takes at least two summoners working in conjunction to draw. A matriarch is an enormous creature which dwarfs it's normal counterparts. Used to reign indiscriminate carnage in enemy territory. The matriarch is impossible to control (although will refrain from attacking its summoners) and as a result causes no side-effects (other than magical exhaustion and the usual euphoria) from summoning.

Cast Symbol- A low mana spell which projects the symbol to summon a creature onto a flat surface to make it faster to draw them. Requires the caster to study both the creature and symbol to summon it in detail in order to work.


Mind-control- A more refined tool in the Ralkin's arsenal. It is not literally seizing control of a subject's mind and forcing them to do a caster's bidding but provoking an extreme emotional state which takes either a tremendous amount of will-power to resist (depending on the caster's magical strength) or a dispel to cancel the effect. The spells are usually short-lived, lasting around 10 seconds or so (longer if the practitioner is a master) and delivered at short-range through blasts of multi-colored smoke fired from the casters mouth. Known mind-control spells include...

Terrify- The caster alters the victim's perception enough to see them as a warped, inhuman figure radiating threat, causing them to flee, or at least find the nearest corner to crawl into.

Fury- Brings the victim's animosities and repressed anger to the surface, causing them to lash out indiscriminately at anyone nearby.

Despair- Makes the victim briefly know complete hopelessness, temporarily losing all faith to carry on, typically causing tears and rolling up into the fetal position.

Calm- Instills the target with reassurance and confidence, causing them to forget negative emotional states for a brief period. Sometimes used as a dis-spell for the spells above.


More to come as I think of them.

Is the list so far balanced enough for everyone?
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Alberich » February 18th, 2013, 2:42 am

Concerning blasts and barriers - with Udo I've been working under the assumption that one mage cannot have a barrier up around himself and, at the same time, do his regular mage or fire blasts. I think I partly based it on this scene, where the "barrier teams" put up the barriers while the Elf Artillery just blasted. (Ian's different, but then, he's Ian.) I'm not clear whether that barrier was on the ground to keep more zombies out, or whether it was a protection against Ian and the elves could blast through it. (Or third possibility - the one I favor - it's a defense against Ian but by training and coordination they drop the shields just long enough for the artillery to blast.)

My notion is that it takes a few seconds to recharge before the next blast, but a shield is easy to keep up, so that a pair of duelling wizards would end up trading blows because one was blasting while the other was shielding and recharging.

Since we're coming up on scenes which'll have shields and blasting for sure, is everyone okay with that being the standard? I mean, Jargalan has to drop his shield for a second in order to blast, ditto Aleron. 'course the Ralkin can summon monsters or use the "Dagger of the Mind" while keeping their shields up, which makes them especially dangerous.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Jack Rothwell » February 18th, 2013, 9:14 am

The standard makes sense, although it seems there's been fights earlier in the story where mages could do both. As long as that doesn't mean 'big bad drops shield for a second and gets telefragged by Drusia' it's fine with me.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Graybeard » February 18th, 2013, 10:43 am

Alberich wrote:Concerning blasts and barriers - with Udo I've been working under the assumption that one mage cannot have a barrier up around himself and, at the same time, do his regular mage or fire blasts.

I think the assumption is reasonable, but the more general assumption is that a mage cannot simultaneously concentrate on wielding magic in two ways that are radically different or even opposed, if it requires the mage's continuous attention to wield at least one of them. The barrier certainly qualifies on that latter count. Even the elves seem unable to do that, as you've pointed out.

The flip side is this. There is precedent both in Errant Story (admittedly with Meji and Ian rather than normal human beings, but even they have other limits, as we have seen) and in Errant Road for applying a "fire-and-forget" kind of spell, one where the mage's attention is not required at all times to maintain it, that remains in effect while another spell is used. We shouldn't preclude that. Shield/Barrier wouldn't be one of those, since they are reactive in nature and would require the mage's attention to keep the spell effective when it's being bombarded by stuff. But others falling under this heading could easily exist -- detection magic, sensory enhancement, maybe levitation (although not flying), maybe underwater breathing if there's ever a need for that, etc. The main things are to strive for consistency and playability while avoiding Mary Sue.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Alberich » February 18th, 2013, 12:58 pm

That makes sense. We've already seen that the Ralkin can keep themselves shielded while summoning creations and keeping control of them -- to that list I would add mind speech and translation spells, because they are easy for the people who know them.
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Re: Magic in Errant Story

Postby Alberich » March 2nd, 2013, 4:38 pm

Since it's come up in the Ralkin thread - let's talk a moment about magic staves. The Wiki tells us that Yuuki staves are used by Battlemages, and I think the comic only shows them in the hands of mages. Jack tells me that he and Graybeard once had a discussion sometime that suggested they were just "stored energy" that could be used by anyone, wizard or not.

My own preference is that staves be usable only by wizards; and that Jade's ability to make "mana rifles" that can be used by non-mages be a serious advance that no one but her knows how to do. (Putting her on par with the Ensigerum genius who figured out the time magic, and that is fine by me.) I've worked under the assumption that staves magnify the power of the mages who wield them, and allow for some specialized functions (such as the gliding wings that Udo used to create with his staff), but do not convey the ability to wield magic on anyone who couldn't already.

Otherwise it's hard for me to see why anyone would take the trouble to manufacture firearms - a magic ray gun (which a staff would effectively be) would be superior in every way. Since Tsuiraku makes enough of them to equip its whole army, I don't think it could be kept secret for long. But if magic talent is not universal and you have to learn to wield magic to wield a staff - then that does make sense; lesser mortals would go with the boomsticks, even though they are expensive, individually-crafted items (as suggested by Poe's notes in the Wiki). Until and unless they got hold of Jade's better products.

What do other folks think?
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