Kept up by the Monks of Monthan the Montan Water Wheel is still working to this day.
On the water wheel, each bucket is created so that only a small sliced portion of it collects water. Each bucket is unique about the section of which it collects water. This water is then dumped into a corressponding gutter of water that takes it to one of many sections of free swinging bamboo. The water fills the top of the bamboo forcing it over dumping the water which allows the bamboo to swing back and strike another bamboo striker creating a hollow yet melodic quick series of tapping.
The water released from the buckets interacting with the bamboo creates a hypnotic, soothing pattern that many from all around venture to witness. It is used by some sick as therapeutic, by the holy as hypnotic and centering, and by the curious as, well, curious.
((In many Japanese gardens the bamboo waterfalls and striking of bamboo together is pretty popular and really does sound cool. A small sample of it is in Kill Bill....well, you know the part.)) Go to Comment
I find this topic has a vague echo or parallel even with the system I am using in Aros so I have more then a passing interest in this. My isn't very detailed but the general principles remain.
Great system by the way and I very much think I am going to be *stealing* a few of your ideas. I have not though heavily about imbuing the powers into items but....anyway...
The problem I had, and I think it is a problem with this too, is the nature of diamond mines, or any other mines. It is common for veins or limited areas to be naturally in high concentration of diamonds and other precious gems. What prevents a wizard from taking over this area and building a fortress? I have that dilemna too, I limited it slightly by having the pockets small and diversified, although I suppose that could be done with yours as well though with only a little explaining.
Kings would probably be trying to stock up on these as much as possible, like we (did) stock nukes as a deterrent and in case of war. Those who control the diamonds control strength in power and in money/trade. So the fact that only a few gems are available could be as much a factor of the economy and ruler as it could their scarcity. That would also lead me to believe there would be a heavy heavy blackmarket in them which may open a whole other world of gem trading and expense. Their are probably little unregulated mines out there that are able to steadily supply blackmarkers the gems whereas the official mines (that haven't been taken over by wizards ) controlled by the king mostly go into the coffers and only a few make it to the free market.
In some places gems, like swords, might be not allowed to enter and must be 'checked' at the door. Perhaps in some places where you buy them it is like a background check here. They take down a lot of information about the wizard in an attempt to track 'civilian' wizards purchasing diamonds because of the threat they may pose. I would think there would be a lot of technology and resources into better mining, and perhaps even a rudimentary strip mining but this leads me to wanting to know A LOT more about the world. It is obvious to me that wizards would also end up being master jewelers so any jeweler very well may be a wizard...maybe...?
I have another question with the size of the gems. It is generically stated that such and such gem gives such and such mana. I would have to assume that each stone would give a certain amount of mana as determined by its carat size, no? A 1 carat diamond would give X amount of mana but a 40 carat jade would also hold X amount of mana. And if this is true would the quality of the gem also come into play?
And if that is true then you would not only have to have the correct type of gem for certain spells, you would also have to have certain carat sizes....or perhaps the spell only requires that gem but the size determines the power. So I could cast a small fireball that maybe only destroys a door with a small gem or I could destroy a castle wall with a huge gem of the same type....
What happens to the destroyed gem? Explodes into nothing? Gem dust? Dust still cool looking or useful for anything? Mixed with weapons? Used as a glistening whitewash on the richies house? Go to Comment
If I was a wizard and took over a mine, I would have plenty of neophyte wizards pounding at my door begging to cut gems for me in return for a few for themselves. I would be doing what I want if I owned the mine. I think implying that he would cut his own gems is like saying that he will mine them at all. I think if they found a mother of all gems, he may want to cut that one himselfe, but all the others....I am sure he would have a loyal (?) army of wizards doing the grunt work and everybody makes out by the situation. More wizards = more protection = no worries about rival kingdoms so much = all the gems they basically keep for themselves and there will be an understood system of distribution/payment. Ideal circumstances anyway. That is my thought on that.
I think the idea of underground creatures feeding off of them is a grand idea. Yet another reason why they are so rare. Perhaps dragons (or other monsters) live off them instead of subteranean beasts. They need them to fly or something, so anybody that has a mine or stockpile is under the immediate risk of magical creatures deciding they need your gems. All kingdoms that stockpile would be under the constant threat of attack and so maybe stockpiling doesn't happen except in very small quantities. If a king decided to use their magic they could pretty much do anything and would probably destroy the world if there weren't some kind of limits. Gem Holocaust.
The quantity of stones causing anti-magic is a GREAT limiting factor so you don't have indestructable mages running around. I couldn't think of a balancing factor for the stockpiling and that one solves it well.
Both the above ideas I used for my sands. Quantities of sand attract the Horde therefore making them very dangerous places to be. Sandmages can only carry a limited amount...because that is the nature of the sands. Both things if not solved cause some problems.
Brainstorming some more on Moonhunter...the "magic rich" environment. When he said "free floating magic creatures" I immediately thought if two powerful wizards carrying the perfect balance of gems that is near or just under the max they can carry before anti-magic come into play, if they come together instead of the combined power of the gems of both sending them over the top into anti-magic it could be an almost Highlander effect. Robes billowing, winds pick up whipping up stones and such, lightning perhaps striking around them. An overall dangerous environment. Another reason to check the gems at the gate.
It is the nature of the two mages with full mana and max gem power that creates the unique effect. This would probably force a rework of everything though, power games and tricking between mages, not wanting to use magic during an adventure to save it for the final confrontational wizard duel, or wanting to not carry max so the events don't happen and accidently harm anybody. Good mages would try and avoid that so limit themselves maybe. Wizard duels: would know the other is not at full strenth if they are at full strength yet the events don't take place so the other one is obviously currently underpowered (but still don't know how powerful they are)....Probably too far out there but I just saw the two wizards meet in storm of spinning gravel and lightning lifting up to the sky where the first few rounds of a magical battle would take place before they came back to the ground to finish the fight.
Maybe, the above scenerio could happen when two magicians are carrying enough gems to make them anti-magic. Any other time a max amount of gems would be anti-magic, but when two wizards with too many gems come together the above reaction happens instead. Perhaps there is an ritual fight that wizards do to solve differences and that is it.....or perhaps kingdoms, instead of killing off their armies in major wars could decide to end it by a glorious mage war. Go to Comment
Oh yeah. That non-gem wizard concept is faaabulous!!
Can anybody learn powers? Can gems make up for lack of skill? I ask these with manfred's comment about the king having perfect gems on his crown. Can the king use it?
So, the magician has all his normal spells that he can cast up to his personal mana. Gems resupply mana and help cast other spells in their realm. Can any gem restore any mana lost from any spell in the wizard?
Going back to the crown idea which hit a chord in me. Wizards would probably not just carry around a bag of gems to use as needed. They would most likely be put into a staff, in their own crown, a wand, or anything, something so that they know exactly where the gem is that they may need. They would probably have the jeweler skill to put new gems in to replace the ones that get destroyed. Only makes sense that their would be a way for the wizards to store them conveniently and easily accessible.
On top of that the gem choice is almost a mental challenge/game/skill to pick the correct or appropriate mix of gems that may change depending on what you are doing. Like a Magic Deck of cards that you can change depending on your strategy. Go to Comment
I am sure it would be relatively easy, if they are required to turn the gems in at the gate, to imbue some door that all have to travel through that would be able to detect the gems somehow. Might be a quantity limit to the magic detection, more then 10 carats or something and it will be detected. Cut down on the large scale entrance of gems but still allow opportunity for smugglers to bring them in and out the gate.
I missed the part where the gems turned to goo. I was going with the thought that they just dissappeared...I like them turning to dust personally.
Do they require physical touch to use the gem or is having them close good enough? I have been going on the assumption of the wizard having to hold or finger them to use them, but now I recall somebody saying they could blow up a mine by casting in the vicinity of gems. Go to Comment
How about gems that have not been handled by mages take X long decreasing per level. Once a mage gets ahold of it he attunes it to himself to make it useable. Once attuned to him he can drop it, leave it, do whatever and it will always be ready for him and him alone.
Another wizard takes a gem that has been attuned by another then it will take X + difference in level of other mage. So a high level mage that attunes himself to a gem in 2 days and he is like level 10 or something. Then if he gives that gem to another mage of the exact same level then it will 2 days for him to attune to it. Give it to a 5th level mage and it will take that mage 5 + 2 = 7 days to attune himself or retune the gem to his tune. Or you could just have it flat, generic time plus the level of mage that it is currently tuned to.
Perhaps holding it on your person longer could increase the time for others to retune. If a mage was carrying a gem since he learned gem magic and died of old age...somebody else getting that gem may never be able to retune it and make it useable...
Thinking a little about the shape of the gems as well. The typical diamond cut has a flat top and a pointy bottom. Could the flat be used as a shotgun effect and the pointy side for a confined laser type effect? Then gems could not only be used for what area of magic they are for, but also for the type of cut they are and what magic it may produce. Go to Comment
The colorless manna crystal would be indestructable right? Not sure if you implied that or not. Maybe not indestructable, but reuseable? The manna used on 'down' days to build these crystals would be pretty darn handy. The max probably should stay at around 5 or else why use any real ones...maybe take more to build the initial colorless gem but still require 50 manna, or whatever, to charge it. Couldn't be accumulative, like using 25 one day and 25 the next, should be charged in a one shot deal to make it harder to do, rarer, and only available to the higher mages.
Motivation. I always thought of it that humans (or another race) had turned into weeds threatening the elven society and their ways so it came to a point where they had to deal with it. Whether it be the need to start and understand this upstart society or to control, divert, or destroy it.
I think a perfect society is incredibly boring, which might be the point, but it doesn't give anybody anything to work with so, really, any RP possibilities are pretty much taken away. The protection of "magic and the world" seems a little forced to me as well especially when it doesn't seem like they have an motivation for it besides containing their perfect world. That is sort of the generic answer to force them to interact. I like the tools copy thing though but not the reasoning. Perhaps they may be able to feel the forces of the magic but for some reason they sometimes can't figure out the exact uses that the magic is going to. Most of the time they know how it is being used because they are so attuned to it. The reason for the use may not be real important, it is more of an inventory thing so they know where the power has gone. When their magic is being drawn on and the use is unknown they send out their copies to investigate the drain on their magic. Since they are the keepers and source they have concerns for unaccounted for magic uses. This could be anomalies of the magic users or purposeful attempts to use the magic against convention.
With the power and understanding they have it seems to me that they would be more suited to actually controlling the magic in the world. It is no longer the gods or nature that gives the gift of magic to others of the world, I think it would be interesting if it was the elves themselves that controlled the magic itself...completely. So the first level mage that can cast a simple spell was given, no, allowed to have this skill by the elves. The chants and motions still harness this magic but it comes from the elves, not the gods.
Since they have been around and were created in the image of the gods then I don't think the neutrality of the gift would be too hard to justify. So 'evil' would get the gift just as 'good' would. This could give them just a little more justification for 'protecting the magic' since any major disruptions or abuse would directly affect them. This gives them a personal stake in the protection of the magic.
The elves may not specifically grant the ability, but they can definately take it away. So if you raise the ire of an elf you will basically become powerless against it. A war gets out of control, destroying much land and disrupting a flow of magic in an area. One elf gets up from observing a river trickle, makes itself visible, and walks in between the two warring sides. All magic on both sides is immediately taken away by the single elf, all attempts to harm it are tossed aside without effort. The elf calls for peace between the two parties or else it will call its brethren to fix the situation however they see fit, whether it is destroying them all or 'charming' them into submission. There would be legends of this happening in the past so the two sides would come up with something if only to send the elf back to where it came from or else create another legend. The point is that, with a thought, the elf can take away the magical ability of any creature in the world and can deflect any attempts at harm. After all, they have had all of time to perfect any defensive abilities they would need to protect themselves from any of the newer races. The elves just want to do their thing and perpetuate their perfect existance and if something is disrupting it, they take care of it.
Also, having them saturated in magic and had all time to master and adjust to this power I would like to think that they would be at least shapeshifters of some sort. I know I would be. Would they really be satisfied in a single form? As each elf grew would they not slowly find a more comfortable form, personalizing the shell they live in? As keepers and creatures of magic perhaps they have their true form still but being timeless I would think they may adapt to their interests. Go to Comment
I am almost infatuated with this race after reading a couple of Scras' NPCs built off them. Glad they drew me over to this, the options for them are almost limitless and you can have a great deal of fun with them or keep them serious as Scras did.
The Sect of Beustra is made up of a group of talented people that have the gift of spirit sight and the ability to trap the most harmful of the spirits. It usually takes two of them to complete the capture and when they do it is not often that dramatic.
Once an evil spirit is identified and detected the Beustra collects a rock of a large enough size to use as a capturing device for the spirit. Nobody is quite sure if the rock is simply a gate to return the spirit to their world or if it is actually a prison. The Sect of Beustra believes it is used only as a gateway through to the spirit realm.
The Beustra, through chanting and beckoning can lure the spirit into a confined area. When the spirit becomes stationary due to the chanting of one Beustra, the other holding (or grasping if it is too large) the chosen rock will begin the meditations to drag the spirit through the rock to its home plane. The size of the rock isn't as important as the location of it when the spirit becomes trapped in the chants. Smaller rocks have the danger of missing when the spirit is hurled towards it. Larger rocks are prefered for safety. An angry spirit gets much angrier when somebody tries to trap it and fails.
Through this chanting over the rock, the rock takes on a jelly type consistancy. It is soft to the touch and depressions can be left in it but nothing nonethereal can be found to penetrate it. The consistancy allows any rock in any configuration to be used as the trap. Often the same rock is used for multiple spirit trappings.
At a predetermined time the two Beustra finish their chat sending the spirit hurling into the rock. As it enters the rock it creates a ripple as if a rock is dropped into the water. As it enters the Beustra stop their chant and the rock returns to it's solid nature. Depending on when the Beustra stop their chat determines how large the ripple on the rock is. For multiple spirits it takes multiple Beustra. Each one is in control of a portal for one spirit.
Since the Beustra do not believe anything is held in the rock it is simply discarded or left where it is. Go to Comment
This takes magic from an obscure mystic sort of power to a physical (or at least physiological) manifestation that can be directly manipulated.
I like it and it is more where the magic I like to use in my games come froms. I almost always have some sort of physical form of the magic because I really dislike the arbitrary limits placed by many other systems.
"You only get two second level spells."
"Because it says so on page 142."
This doesn't have to have a physical manifestation but since the source of the magic is defined then there are ways to deal with how to control it. And with a firm description of what magic is then you can justify how it is used, who has the power to do it, etc., in a logical and justified system that people can actually understand and accept.
I like the idea of being able to grow, harm, shape, and control it.
This gives me the thought that there would be magic "gardeners" that are professionals at creating and manipulating the magic. Due to their close relationship with magic they will be VERY powerful but I would think they would be more like a merchant religious order. Nobody would ever attack them but they are not able or resistant to greed and lust outside their magic. Magic gives them everything they need. They will probably control the most potent magic but will part with it begrudgingly.
Would make me think that, while there is magic around, if it can be controlled then there won't be much just 'out there' per se. Mages would have to have a way to carry magic with them. Perhaps the nature of it allows it to have a magical container or perhaps the magic follows them around like the little power identifiers in video games.
Others can collect the magic besides the order above and they could sell it? Or is magic too wild for all of this? Either way there could be patches of untapped magic that appear randomly of different levels of power.
I will stop now, I usually go left when everybody else is going right so I will see where this goes. Go to Comment
Ahh, I was thinking of it as somewhat isolated blobs. But the root and vines intertwining amogst the world is interesting too. Don't want them to become ley lines but twisting living masses that perhaps pulse or something seems cool. Go to Comment