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Mythic Threads and magic rules

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  • Mythic Threads and magic rules

    Right now I can think of two places where common-denominator mysticism influences the magic rules.

    1. Prime--being able to get Quintessence with a willing sacrifice, of your own Health Levels or those of others. This is a very specific ability in a world where Quintessence is a scarce resource. It would seem to be a paradigm-driven thing, except the concept of sacrifice is probably something close to universal in real-world mystic traditions. And the fact that it has to be willing sacrifice also suggests that it is some metaphysical law that transcends paradigm. So my question is, are there other practices that are so universally resonant that they can generate Quintessence? Initiation rites? Purification rituals? Sanctified spaces? Holy days?

    2. Correspondence--the idea of Correspondence ranges is based on sympathetic magic. So that is a meta-paradigm kind of thing too.

    Can anyone else think of other examples of how Mythic threads influence--or could influence--how magic works in Mage?

  • #2
    Can we call them something other than Mystic Threads? That's a game term that governs aligning your magic with cultural tropes to make magic easier. It's entirely different from the way the Spheres are constructed.

    Prime - This analysis seems off. What you can harvest Quintessence from (including willing or not) is a factor of your rating in Prime. High level Prime mages can harvest it from all sorts of things; including getting to the point of just absorbing ambient Quintessence from the world around them. Pretty much all the things like getting Quintessence from rites or rituals, spaces, or special events (assuming we're ignoring Nodes, Junctures, Soulgems/flowers, and Periapts), is governed by things like tapping into wellsprings. There's also the Primal Utility variant Sphere that's a lot better at tapping into human interactions as a source of energy.

    Correspondence - Again, there's the counter of the Data variant Sphere were connections are based on a different method.

    The game is biased towards "common denominator mysticism" in how the rules are constructed because they were designed for playing Tradition or Disparate/Orphan mystic mages. Hence the introduction of things like the Technocratic variant Spheres to have ones that make more sense for them.

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    • #3
      I never agreed much with the "willing part". It's funny, because Forged by Dragons Fire have a Nefandic magical item (a periapt if Im not mistaken) that allows you to pluck away 30 points of quintessence from your sacrifice over the course of two weeks of intense torture, 10 points are the normal, regular points every human has, and the other 20 are collected by the psychic energies that the constant torture generate.

      Well, probably just another case of WW authors not being on the same page again.

      Nevertheless, I never agreed with that "willing" part. A Tass is a Tass, just carve their freaking hearts out and be done with it.

      That also doesn't go well with real world mysticism. Not EVERYBODY that had their hearts ripped were very anxious for that... Even thou some cultures would consider it a honor, I doubt that those spaniards being cutted opened on the top of the Aztecs piramids in front of their countrymen, I doubt they were too happy about it...

      I would say that an [I]unwilling[/u] sacrifices can be even more powerful than a willing one (except for a SELF sacrifice, that should be the most powerful of all), but it taints the ressonance. That's, of course, mostly disastrous for a chorister, but it could be a very sweet deal for a Nefandus that wanna use some Black Magic, Specially for infernalism(like) and necromancy... All that Jhor hmmmm.... Delicious, the master aproves...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        The game is biased towards "common denominator mysticism" in how the rules are constructed because they were designed for playing Tradition or Disparate/Orphan mystic mages. Hence the introduction of things like the Technocratic variant Spheres to have ones that make more sense for them.
        That, and the needs of crafting a game system that technically allows players to do theoretically anything, but not too soon. It's why you can't hang a spell until Time 4, can't turn common materials into radioactive ones until Matter 5, and can't create living human bodies until Life 5, among many other things. It makes the game get...weird, and unwieldy for storytellers.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
          That, and the needs of crafting a game system that technically allows players to do theoretically anything, but not too soon. It's why you can't hang a spell until Time 4, can't turn common materials into radioactive ones until Matter 5, and can't create living human bodies until Life 5, among many other things. It makes the game get...weird, and unwieldy for storytellers.
          Dimensional Science... Oh, my most beloved pseudoscientific bullshit technobabble, I love you my dear one

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          • #6
            Yes, actually, there is one idea closely associated with a certain set of Paradigms that nonetheless is incorporated into the Sphere system itself: Conservation of Matter and Energy. That's why you need Prime 2 to manufacture something from nothing. Even using Prime 2 you are still only drawing on energy that already exists. The Spheres can convert stuff, but they do not make it.

            I think the idea that trees and insects are more simple life forms than dogs and humans is also a point of view.


            Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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            • #7
              That's not exactly the case. Being able to turn a pound of iron into a ton of iron doesn't require Prime, and violates the laws of conservation like mad. Same goes for being able to turn into a tiger.

              The "simple" forms of life thing is a point of view, but it's also a lot faster than a formal biological definition of complexity. It's also fairly non-point-of-view as long as you're dealing with a single organism and not getting into superorganisms. A single ant is, by pretty much any way you look at it, more simple than a single human (though point of view can radically change how significant that is).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                That's not exactly the case. Being able to turn a pound of iron into a ton of iron doesn't require Prime, and violates the laws of conservation like mad. Same goes for being able to turn into a tiger.
                I agree, it's not the actual conservation principle, but it is telling to see even an approximation in the rules. Notably, Awakening dropped that.



                Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

                  I agree, it's not the actual conservation principle, but it is telling to see even an approximation in the rules. Notably, Awakening dropped that.
                  Its more like "conservation of magik".

                  If it hás the same quintessential amount, its fair game.

                  Quintessence however, does NOT have a physical naturalistic interaction with the material world, but rather a methapysical connection. There is no 1 quintessence = x kilograms of Matter, or 1 quintessence = x kilojoules of energy. Quintessence can become spirit, or even a tought (and can also come from those sources), that are basically immaterial (ephemeral).

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                  • #10
                    I got the impression that Prime 2 isn't used to create mass or energy, but the Pattern of an object/lifeform/force. If it doesn't have a pattern - if it doesn't have a metaphysical design to build upon, and a circuit to interface with the broader Reality - it can't exist.

                    It's also why a human can transform into a tiger or a house cat. They aren't altering mass - that's a facet of the scientific paradigm - but rather their Pattern's shape. In a way that is very reminiscent of Neoplatonism, the objects that appear in this material world are merely shadows cast by greater Ideas, when the emanations of The One shine upon them. Change that idea, and the shadow shifts in turn.


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                    • #11
                      Does M20 distinguish raw quintessence and free quintessence, or do you always have to spend one or more points of quintessence to conjure stuff like in Revised?

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                      • #12
                        I don't remember if the books say so, though I seem to recall Brucato saying somewhere that you don't need to spend Quint to conjure. Don't quote me.

                        If this is true, I might suggest a middle ground between them. The conjuration itself is free, but the conjured object/organism/force won't persist beyond Duration unless Quint is spent (or unless the Duration is "Permanent"). You're trying to weave together disparate threads of primal energy into a pattern, during an age when there's not a lot of Quint floating around not bound up in existing patterns. Unless you do a really good job, the new pattern will unravel and its Quintessence bleed off into the air again.

                        That's just my interpretation.


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                        • #13
                          That's a good idea, Bluecho.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                            Pretty much all the things like getting Quintessence from rites or rituals, spaces, or special events (assuming we're ignoring Nodes, Junctures, Soulgems/flowers, and Periapts), is governed by things like tapping into wellsprings.
                            What do you mean by "wellsprings"--since you're ignoring Nodes etc.?

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                            • #15
                              Wellsprings (which are defined in the Prime section) are any situation where there's enough Resonance that a skilled enough Prime user can harvest Quintessence from the excessive Resonance (though such Quintessence should carry that Resonance with it).

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