Technology is one of the driving motors of cultural change. A Technology is really just 'the way people get things done' though a body of knowledge. Active magic (the kind in most games) is nothing more tha a way that people get things done though a body of knowledge.
I want you, if you are old enough, to think about all the changes that have occured in your lifetime... how different the world is today than it was a decade or two ago, just because of technology - and the changes in society based on the foundation of those technologies.
If you are not old enough, think of two things... one) a world without an internet/ web/ or computers that weren't any better than 25 cent calculators and two) how unable to deal with new technology and the world attached to it that most older people (and how you have to break most simple technology down into baby steps for them)
So imagine the impact on your world, initial and eventual, of a new form of magic emerging.
It could come from a Deity (like in Iron Kingdom), it could come from a Demon (and who determines that label?), or from one innovative/ enlightened person (Hermes Trismegistus (or a host of other names applied).
It could be one extremely useful spell (super fireball or a 2nd level spell that creates Golems/ jacks) or an entire range of magical techniques (Top Magic). How will the world change because of this new type of magic? People will respond, either by using it or trying to stop others from using it. What can be done now that could not be done before (or done as easily)?
Would this new power threaten the status quo? It would upset the magical community some. Masters of all magical knowledge no longer are masters. (Just think of old unix programmer/ managers vs newer Window* programers/ managers vs newer elite programers). Depending on its power and who can use it, it might disrupt the religious, governmental, commercial, and social structures that exist. Those groups would respond and retaliate, to maintain their hard won position in society. It could create new groups, that too would disrupt the status quo.
And what are the common's people response to all of this? Do they know? Do they care? Do they believe the lies the various organizations of status quo might promelgate? Do they believe 'the truth' of the new practioners of magic?
So, yesterday a new form of magic was discovered/ invented on your world (or any world), what will happen from there.
The naiads of Acqua know a form of magic that does not need amythest to work, but instead draws on their life force. If such a form of magic were to spread to humans and other creatures, the mighty De Madden Company in the eastern seas and the great Kraken Big Red in the western seas would no longer be so powerful. In Acqua, the seas at the best of times are so dangerous that amythest is needed to sail safely on any long voyage.Only the magic to control the winds can stop the smaller craft from being wrecked and keep the larger vessels on a steady course.With another form of magic, new companies could spring up.True, the spellcasters could not cast too many spells at a time because it would make them ill or even kill them,but the simpler spells are easy to learn, and each ship could have several spellcasters,each casting for an hour a day.
The worst-case scenario...a bloody civil war in which the Company tries to strangle the other companies at birth.There are violent land battles and fleet actions in which tens of thousands die in battle or from famine and disease as trade is disrupted all over Acqua by the war.Whoever takes over becomes a repressive tyrant.
The best-case scenario...the Company learns to live with competetors and becomes better towards it's customers and more democraticly minded.Life improves for the vast majority of the population.
In the west the great Kraken Big Red rules as a living god because of his amythest.
The worst-case scenario...other Krakens fight wars amongst themselves to control the region, using Kraken magic,causing tidal waves, boiling seas and other undesirable things.The humans turn their magic on their would-be overlords. The very sea bottom is stirred up so much that the G'Thrann are brought to the surface where,in a rage, they eat everything they can find and devastate the entire region.
The best-case scenario... Big Red is gently informed that whilst they will still treat him with respect, sacrafices of humans are a thing of the past,as they have enough magic to defend themselves against anything,including him.
One of the core concepts that I have found is that most settings have only one form of magic, and nothing else. To work magic you have to fit into the basix X mold of having the special gift that no one else has, or perhaps spend a decade in a training school to learn the arcane arts. This is such a commonly held conceit that no one, perhaps our most enlightened Moonhunter has thought to challenge it. I can project a few possible outcomes to the advent of a new form of magic becoming a reality.
There are a few things to keep in mind though. A new form of magic is going to be less developed and certainly more raw than the established old style. The old style has been the dominant style for some time and is going to be free of the kinks and flub-ups that occur with the creation of an entirely new system.
Double Weak Scenario
There is a new form of magic, perhaps it sidesteps spell requirements, such as arcane components, or only requires gesture. Whatever the difference, the new form is sub-par when compared to the established system. After an initial burst of interest, the new style is largely abandoned to the vagaries of the sages and historians. A few esoteric foes dabble in the art, as a random factor, but the new art is museum quality and is quickly left behind and forgotten, like the steam boiler automobile, autogyro helicopter, and the new formula of Coca Cola.
Single Weak Scenario
The new form of magic is found to be on par with the the standard form of magic, but operates at a level that is weaker than standard. This could be the equivalent to discovering Low Sorcery in a world of regular sorcery. While it is signifigant, it doesnt offer much of a threat to the status quo, much like the OS's of microsoft's rivals. Or, the practitioners of the standard style effectively quash the new style and slam it with so much bad press that interest in the new art fails.
Double Neutral Scenario
Most likely in a high power, or high magic realm, a new form of magic is passe and given no more attention than the unvealing of next year's Minivan models. Mages are powerful in that the variety of magic available prevents heroes from automatically knowing magi weaknesses.
Single Neutral Scenario
As above, but there is a change in the mage community, the new art is recognized as being very similar to the old magic. This would be the equivalent of a new form of magic in an RPG so that the new form is designed to be equal to the old style to prevent alot of old material from becoming obselete, and keeping the playing field artificially level for gamers.
Single Strong Scenario
The new form of magic is more potent than the old form, but not overwhelmingly so. Perhaps the new style is way better at creating artificial servants like jacks and golems, thus rendering an entire branch of the standard form of magic obselete. The old style will be supplanted by the new style but the old style, with the strength of diversity and longer standing application is merely diminished in a fashion.
Double Strong Scenario
The new form is superior to the old form in every fashion. Practitioners of the old style are forced to adopt the new style, or face the end of their control of magic. Many older mages, especially the grouchy old arch-mages are going to be violently opposed to the new style as they despize change. There could be a coup of the young dethroneing the old, middle skill new magi might be able to defeat the old arch-magi, or by some other fashion the old are removed from relevance. The old style of magic lingers on for a while, being used in areas where it has slight advantages of application but forever replaced by the new style. This is like the change from propeller drived aircraft to the jet propelled aircraft.
If only this thread was started in another year or so, when this idea was more developed... but I've been sitting on it for about 12 years now, so I might as well start working on it now... MoonHunter, you made me search for hours through my ooooold notes to find this.
By coincidence, the Way of the Night was meant to be the rogue 'shake 'em up' style of magic for the Conquest book, as opposed to the other 'new' traditions which would only be the published release of older (to the game world's inhabitants) established styles. What's posted here is still far from being ready for inclusion in Midian, and the final version may be quite different. However, this is a Strolen exclusive, not even found on the Midian forums. You read it here first, folks.
Quote from: 'Scrasamax'
One of the core concepts that I have found is that most settings have only one form of magic, and nothing else.
Indeed, one of the core concepts of Midian was that there should be a plenitude of different types of magic, with many different theories--each equally valid--for why magic works, or at least why that particular variety of magic works.
At first glance Rax, the Way of the Night, seems to have much in common with Demon cults. However, there doesn't seem to be a Greater Demon named 'Rax,' nor is there any religious or pseudo-religious aspect to this magic. The core of Rax is that its practitioners gain dark knowledge which allows them to replicate other spells, or create new ones. (I have yet to establish how these practitioners initially gain this ability.) Rather than study a particular magical skill, or read an established ritual, these mages simply 'know' how to perform a given feat. However, the steps to perform these dark knowledge rituals doesn't match any other tradition, and cannot be taught or duplicated by someone without being a Rax practitioner. For example, while a necromancer needs to create a protection circle to animate a zombie, and utilise candles on the corpse during an hours-long ritual, someone using the Way of the Night might only write a magical symbol on the chest of the corpse in blood. Anyone who carefully observes this act, and tries to duplicate it--whether or not he or she already knows the normal means of animation--would be unable to do more than bloody up a dead body.
The bulk of the dark knowledge gained via Rax is in the form of dark glyphs and words of power. However, thes mystic symbols and terms do not match any previous system of runes, glyphs, circles, or other mystic symbols, nor do they have any sort of internal methodology. A practitioner of Rax may create an entirely different symbol to evoke the same magical effect at a different time. However, another Rax practitioner may use a very similar symbol for a completely different effect. There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it at all.
This method of magic is viewed by some loremasters as an odd form of insanity, perhaps coupled with some form of as-yet-unknown psychic gift. This view is contradicted by three facts: one, it works--quite well, two, the followers of the Way of the Night can identify one another instinctively, and three, they are quite insightful in matters Demonic. For example, one using Rax may know the name of a Demon that he or she has never before met. This knowledge, as with their other knowledge, is 'just known' without study, deduction, or experience.
In addition to the time-savings of not having to study magic, learn from a teacher, read from a scroll, or research a ritual, the Way of the Night is typically much faster than a comperable rite would normall be. By only having to create a dark glyph for an effect, instead of a lengthy ritual, Rax's speed is nearly that of most sorceries.
Another facinating aspect of Rax is that it's followers do not seem to be subject to soul-stealing magics. That is, one sacrificed by a necromancer is still dead, but the spirit cannot be trapped inside an object to be tortured later. It is as though some other force has already claimed the soul as its own. Perhaps this is why some followers of Rax simply disappear without a trace, never to be seen again...
How this affects the game world
This is not an art practiced by old mages. Instead, a teenage practitioner may be wielding power that a centuries-experienced spellcaster would never be able to match. Some wizards master several traditions, or at least add some knowledge from them as part of a vast magical repertoire. However, as a practitioner of Rax doesn't need such--nor see the need for it--this is likely the only form of magic that its followers will learn. Even an apprentice wizard who later gains the 'gift' of dark knowledge may never again learn other magics.
Loremasters will be flummoxed by this. They won't be able to make any sense of this new art. There will inevitably be theories put forth to explain it, but the truth may never be revealed. This is a strange, powerful, and rather creepy form of magic. Even such entities as seemingly knowledgeable as Greater Demons or Dragons don't know what this is all about, or if they do know, they aren't telling.
Areas that ban congress with Demons will readily prohibit the Way of the Night. Even those areas where such is not illegal may consider making this magic an unlawful act.
Other traditions--even such as neithermancers, summoners, and necromancers--will disavow Rax. For some, this will be jealosy--they had to study & practice for years to gain their level of magic, only to have someone 'just know' how to perform the same and greater spells. For other mages, this is just fear--they are as confused and frightened by this new form of magic as a non-spellcaster. For yet others, this is only a public-relations issue--they don't want to confuse their identity with the followers of Rax, nor do they want to be associated with anything that might go wrong with respect to those practitioners.
Depending on how easy I decide to make this 'gift' be found, there may be Rax followers popping up all over. I expect this to be readily used & abused by players. However, they may be sadly disappointed when their GM simply takes their character away--he or she just disappeared--without any explanation given.
Regardless of the ease or difficulty in following the Way of the Night, it will be sought after by many as a quick and easy road to power, as compared to other traditions. Even though some cultists gain spell knowledge readily from Demons, such doesn't allow them to instantly and instinctively know how to create magic that wasn't expressly taught by their unholy masters. Also, as there doesn't seem to be an overseeing sentient entity there wouldn't be the same attachments and obligations associated with serving a Demon. Failed wizards apprentices, lazy would-be spellcasters, socially inept youth, wannabe cultists, and the disenfranchised of all sorts will seek this out, usually for such petty reasons as revenge, attention, quick power, or a misguided belief that everything in their life will fall into place once they have this power.
So yesterday, magic came to Kerren. (Okay it didn't but run with me here.) The entire genre the campaign was in shifted from swords and planets science fantasy to straight fantasy. This would either revitalize an old campign or completely kill it as players did not like it.
So yesterday, magic came to Kerren. Nobody realized it in the begining. Cloaked figures, moving from Warp, appeared to various folks around the planet. They were traders. They taught or granted these people new skills and abilities to utilize natural energy flows to enhance the limited mind powers already on Kerren. These people now have telekinetic abilities, the ability to manipulate the natural forces, enhanced telepathic abilities, and a few can utilize Warp without a dragon. For these skills and abilities, the traders wanted simple things done (allowing them to access energies near by). Most of these traders just wanted certain kinds of rocks to be piled in certain places, others want a little chi. By the time people in positions of power found out about this and could convince others, the traders had 'traded' with hundreds of people.
It all seems benign. There are a few ney sayers and worry warts, but there is nothing tangible here. These people are moving through the Warp from their realm to Kerren. They are granting abilities that allow for the destruction of Zhan and the enhancing of natural life.
You see, the people from Kerren don't have any concept of demon. They come from a science based world. The Traders are nothing more than aliens with a mental technology unknown to Earth, more in keeping with Preserver thought. In fact, they are an advanced society which is obviously in line with what Proper Thought would have.
So eventually human greed and needs will come into play. Traders will be happy to assist those with 'wants', for various prices... some of which do not make much sense as a 'thing of worth' to the Kerrenese. Their society will be in flux as those attempt to come to grip with the powers and the new flow status quo has been established. By the time the Kerrenese realize the folly of their deals, it will be far, far too late.
Demon Gates will open and more Travellers, who are much more alien, will pop out. Open War will begin. Dragons and Ryders vs demons in a war, rather than the hunting and skirmishing of Zhan combat. Then the dragons will let them take the war to the Demons.
After The Wars... Demons and Zhan will be hunted down by Dragon Ryders and Foci (wizards). The world will be different, but LandHealers will be repairing the hell blasted zones. The new forts and citadells will protect humanity in their newly changed world.
Shadow Run. If you don't know it, go look it up.
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? Responses (6)-6
This thread gets a 5/5 because I did find a way to use it. This is one of those things that really gets the imagination fired up.
5/5 and an HOH.
Thank you for the HoH vote Cheka
Woo. Gonna work on this one with Tyren as well. Perhaps I'll even come up with a new WWMWBI.
Really excellent that deserves attention. Love it!
Oh, and this quote from Scras is somewhat ironic, we _did_ get a new type of magic, and that is Mobile.
'While it is significant, it doesn't offer much of a threat to the status quo, much like the OS's of Microsoft's rivals. '
Another important catalyst event scenario, I esp. liked Scras' scroll for its extensiveness in covering up various scenarios across the old and new magic system.