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(Resurrected) Magic(k), Meaning & Mechanics
Topic: (Resurrected) Magic(k), Meaning & Mechanics (Read 640 times)
(Resurrected) Magic(k), Meaning & Mechanics
May 23, 2007, 05:44:36 PM »
This post is a rez from
The Meaning of Magic(k)
Hope I did that bolded url thingy right…no edit button…copied from Ron’s references to a split post…not good at BBCode…we’ll see when I post it…mumbling…read it before posting it...mumble...
Concerning books that speak to the variety, and mechanics of magic in both an real, and game-related sense Isaac Bonewits’
is one of my favorites. You can get one from his website
For another take on how magic works I suggest studying either the literature of those who have studied real world magical belief systems, or actually practice them. Sir James George Frazer’s
The Golden Bough
is as fine a place to start as any in my opinion.
Right off the bat, I really dig Crazy Player’s vision of Magic(k). From a real world perspective I’ve an inkling of one potential source for the words Will & Magick used together, but perhaps that’s a bit too personal.
Quote from: The Crazy Player on March 31, 2007, 08:56:18 AM
What is my vision of Magick? I have several different visions. The vision nearest and dearest to my heart and mind is that Magick is pure human Will. Not a gift from God (or the Gods). Not something foreign, that a rare few can wield and even fewer will be great at. Magick lives in each of us, shaped and molded by the imagination of thinking men and women.
This vision is complicated by a certain fondness for not settling on “one right true way magick works.” Good in one sense, perhaps bad in another.
Quote from: The Crazy Player on April 09, 2007, 03:55:54 PM
While I do have a certain fondness for the idea of doing a game solely about Magick, every time I turn around I have a new idea for how Magick might work, and putting them all into single setting would be very messy, particularly since some of the ideas are mutually exclusive.
Anyone have thoughts on how to create a game that can cover numerous and potentially contrary ideas?
…But Fantang7 raises the stakes by mentioning the IRL Earth in academic terms, and describes how magic arises from setting in his homebrew. Good idea!
Quote from: fantang7 on April 22, 2007, 02:49:01 AM
For me, with a BA in Religious Studies, what's by far the most interesting aspect of magic is looking at what people have thought of it historically. It is a very rare game that even begins to approach the diversity of views around the world of humanity's interaction with the supernatural.
I personally think that magic should arise from the setting, rather than the other way around. That is, it should be natural and logical and make sense in the setting.
Then we have Vincent’s erudite design focused formula to take into account.
Quote from: lumpley on March 30, 2007, 08:33:05 AM
When you design a game, you coordinate
what magic is IN the game's fiction
what magic does TO the game's fiction
In terms of the magicoreligious beliefs of human beings here on planet earth, they quite simply don’t all match up neatly. Certainly there is an academically derived taxonomy for the sorts of magic people have believed in, and practiced throughout the ages, but again not even all the academics agree on this.
The reasons for magic, the beliefs, rituals, and means employed in actually practicing it vary widely between cultures, and sometimes even within a single culture. This speaks to Fantang’s rule of thumb for magic arising from the setting. In practical terms “setting” is in all actuality an individual’s personal belief system as formulated within the broader cultural milieu, and NOT the planet, continent, locale, etc. that generally typifies a RPG Campaign Setting. Essentially magic is personal, experiential, and exists within a greater cultural framework the impact of which cannot be denied.
What this says to me, in terms of Crazy’s earlier question if any games out there mix magical systems, is that the most earthly realistic ruleset would most certainly have to incorporate a wide range of magicoreligious methods, if only for color.
In terms of Vincent’s formula, the immediate concern of the designer is then how to make that sort of fiction work mechanically in a game. There are options to this that don’t have to include wildly variable rule-nuggets ala AD&D Psionics vs. Vancian Magic, who the hell knows how two PCs in this pickle even pair off against each other. As far as I know even the 3E/3.5 Core Rules leave it up to the DM to decide.
A side note on D&D Magic in general – The system speaks well to the various sorts of magic, in both the schools of magic, spell classifications, and differentiation of source i.e. Divine vs. Arcane, and further differentiates it by Class. The friction loss in making this setting-specific in my least humble opinion is with the individual DM. Another point on D&D Magic is that like a number of game mechanics it’s intended to yield a cinematic, rather than realistic simulation. Like AC it’s an abstract that may well seem disconnected without a firm social contract among the group to suspend disbelief.
So, back to my diatribe…A game could be designed with any number of fictional means, methods, and premises behind why magick works. They would naturally conflict, and in some cases even contradict one another. It could even include personal magical systems invented whole cloth by the PC. The rub is in conflict resolution between differing fictional systems, and still retaining either a feel, or actual mechanical difference between them.
In a pulp world there might well be Witches, Shaman, Satanists, Voodoo Mamas, Pagans, Ceremonial Magicians, Sorcerers, and Monotheists all vying for the upper hand, even in a single contest. They all rely on a different system of belief, and in their worldviews a different source of power. The designer could actually use differing, but perhaps similar mechanics for each. White Wolf’s stand-alone horror games used differing sources of power, and if I remember correctly they were similar enough for crossover games. Somebody remind me, I haven’t played them in a few years, and I don’t want to dig out the books.
Anyway I think maybe this could be resolved in a progressively diminishing differential between Belief, Reality, and Perception. How the PC perceives the world is how it interacts with it, and thus how it operates, but alas its beliefs may overpower a clear image of reality by coloring its Perceptions (which are its reality). The clearer the image of reality, the greater number of differing systems the PC can use, or gain resistances against. Until then the Monotheist might be totally fracked by the Satanists, and vice versa, but maybe the Voodoo Mama, and Witch have no power over each other.
En To Pan!
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