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  • On writing mage fiction

    So yes. We as readers, know of consensual reality and mage will working and paradigms.

    But what about in story? If I have a NWO story using his forensics and analytical training to survey a crime scene and analyze a serial killers movements, does he think 'Entropy 1, Correspondence 1, Time 1' or is he simply thinking he's using his training and meditative techniques to make himself momentarily super smart?

  • #2
    It depends on the book you look at, the edition, and personal ST interpretation. Early Technocracy books make it semi-apparent that the Technocracy, I think by large, think they are doing Magick Via Technology in a way that even the Modern M20 Sons of Ether would fucking /hate/, yet M20/Guide to Technocracy makes it apparent that not a lot of Technocracy know/think these things.

    There's a quote in the Proginiters book where the guy is basically like "MAGICK IS REAL!~@!~@!~@!~@ BUT ITS SCIENCE! BUT ACTUALLY MAGICK THO! AND THOSE TRADITIONS ARE NASTY!" they never really explain why, using this thought process, 'Regular ass Magick' is bad and 'Science Magick' good. It doesn't even really go 'Because they are unorganized!', they just kinda hate it.
    This is also the first technocracy books though and were meant for them to be bad guys.

    Notable quotes from the same book (Not literal quotes but summaries):
    Man lets kill the collective soul of Humanity

    It sure is great that Hitler did the Holocaust so we could experiment on humans


    That's just for 'Do I even think I'm doing Magick' which isn't super related but kinda.

    As for what you said: It really depends on what they are doing/how they do it. You could have a 'rote' a Syndicate Agent uses that is literally the same spheres but different tools just depending on situation. If a Syndicate Agent wants to cheat at cards by 'calculating the variables' he might use Entropy 1/Counting cards as his focus, and have no idea he's really using Entropy 1. And then he might using the same rote, entropy 1 to calculate the variables, but require a laptop because he's now calculating the dispersion of energy in a nuclear reaction to see how it will fall apart/smart science stuff like that. It blurs the line between Magick/Mundane skills real hard (The Order of Reason blurrs the lines even further, even going as to far as saying some Order of Reason characters are just 'really good at hearing things' when using Forces 1/whatever to hear farther. Keep in mind this book heavily clarifies that these low level Order of Reason members DO NOT know they are doing Magick, though they may have a concept of 'spheres' in the same way we have a concept of science disciplines. I wouldn't say "I'm using biology 1 to identify the identity of this blood" but I might say "Using my knowledge of advanced biology (True magick) I can identify this much faster and precisely compared to stinky sleepers)

    In short:
    Idk it depends.

    I doubt a NWO would think "I'm using advanced protocols" when giving someone a glare with his shades on to 'scare them away using Mind 2' but he also might think "By reading the person carefully and thinking back to my training with the NWO on the human psychology, I can accurately predict his thoughts at this moment" Using Mind 3.

    Also the more you go 'The Technocracy think they are doing Magick via Spheres' The more this will probably show up. The Order of Hermes, though some don't use the system, basically test to see what 'sphere level' someone is at.

    The Technocracy might kinda do something similar to see the proficiency of people, but I imagine its less meta and more modern-sciency

    I think a good rule of thumb is the more 'supernatural' you get with it, the more likely you'll think of it in sphere terms. A NWO agent thinks he can intimidate people just fine normally, he's a scary guy, but 'expanding his mental awareness' is something that's come from his knowledge of Mind (Or some really smart term for it that makes it less Meta/magick sounding)
    Last edited by Jihelu; 08-16-2019, 11:09 PM.

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    • #3
      Just speaking for myself, Technocrats - at least those who aren't Master level - think in terms of Procedures (ie Rotes) they've been trained in. Specific methods, tools, and processes they've learned as part of their training (or if you prefer, indoctrinations), rather than metaphysics. Thinking about the specific Sciences (Spheres) involved comes later, when they've reached a higher level of loyalty and programming. Forensics and crime scene analysis, for example, is training that makes them the equivalent of Sherlock Holmes by way of Criminal Minds. The fact that it's Time, Mind, and other Sciences isn't part of the curriculum yet. That comes later, like when they learn how to take someone's mind apart and rebuild them in a more compliant fashion.
      However, those that go rogue have likely started to work out the logic of "if I can do X, might I also be able to do Y?" and start developing their own Rotes or figuring out common less Technocratic ones.



      What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
      Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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      • #4
        So not 'in terms of spheres', but instead in terms of 'Yeah, we learned advanced forensics in the NWO and Iteration X'?

        Ok then. How do you show this? If I show this guy casing a scene, and then finding clues and putting together pieces the normal investigators have missed, do I do it like this?

        Normal people, yoga instructors, and kookies all talk about mental stuff. 'Open your mind' they say. 'Let the energy of the universe uplift your mind'. Yeah, right. Here in the New World Order, we do things better. Mind Palaces and breathing exercises are things we've dispersed to the masses, judging them to be obsolete. We've got better techniques now. I took a breathe, long practice calling up old ingrained habits and clearing away the clutter. I stopped worrying about the dripping roof, or the bills, or the scratchy label in my pants. All that mattered was the scene. My mind moved, far more liquid and flexible than before, going through systematic routes of analysis and protocols that I had ingrained in me in my time with the statisticians with Iteration X. I looked through the pictures and the records of the serial kiler. Then I got to work.

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        • #5
          I'd say, yes.

          In this model of the WoD (assuming the Conventions work together, the Technocracy has substantial resources) you could go with the NWO having access to a much greater database of historic activity by serial killers with even apparently meaningless information stored, categorised and available for analysis. The processing power of It X gets applied to it and can turn out correlations like, "83.5% of serial killers can't recall which side of the tap is hot" and then a tool that can tell that cold water was run in the kitchen but the hot tap was turned on briefly as well. Add in the knowledge that "98% of serial killers that mistake the tap also clean their hands immediately afterwards" and you can pull the tea-towel in for advanced DNA checking.

          That might out-turn something that narrows your suspects from 10 to 5 but do this enough times and you can narrow down from 10 to 1 and also have a fair idea what they named their childhood cat.

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          • #6
            Basically yeah.

            In M20 it mentions that the Technocracy is the only group who can cross-teach with, basically, no issues what so ever. A Western Hermetic may accept /some/ aspects of Eastern Alchemy but cross-training will still have difficulties (Language barriers, idea barriers, accepting new concepts and applying them to your own and hoping your teacher doesn't go 'no that's wrong' "Oh Chi is basically Mana/Quintessence" "No young grasshopper you have much to learn", etc etc etc while the Technocracy just has some books you can download that teach something that you go 'Yeah that makes sense' [Still costs exp and what not so you are putting actual effort into it but it works])

            You have have a Technocratic Master do literally all of what you gave in an example and then make a mental note "The Tradition Mages (Actually would probably only be the Order of Hermes and then only a few but generalizations) and some of the more theoretical Technocrats may call this an aspect of 'Mind' and 'Entropy' under broad aspects, but how you can you so simplify years of training and advanced psychology?"

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            • #7
              Indeed. Another one: The NWO agent may use the same or similar methods as the unawakened agent, but the NWO operative makes incredible deductions and leaps of logic from the data. Like those we often see in detective stories and series, where the detective it's always two steps ahead of the police. Or those where the police always finds the culprit (unlike real life, where crimes often go unsolved). That's why we say he's a genius investigator.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                Indeed. Another one: The NWO agent may use the same or similar methods as the unawakened agent, but the NWO operative makes incredible deductions and leaps of logic from the data. Like those we often see in detective stories and series, where the detective it's always two steps ahead of the police. Or those where the police always finds the culprit (unlike real life, where crimes often go unsolved). That's why we say he's a genius investigator.
                Yeah. Maybe.

                A question on paradox. You see things. There's no case that he can't fix. The city he's in? No more missing cases. Mutiple cases of corruption, busted. Multiple human and drug trafficking, broken to pieces. There's no case he can't solve, given time and data.

                Does this incur paradox? I mean, he's continuously finishing cases which would be impossible for anyone else. But he's not doing anything... supernatural. Just consistently excellent at his job.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                  Yeah. Maybe.

                  A question on paradox. You see things. There's no case that he can't fix. The city he's in? No more missing cases. Mutiple cases of corruption, busted. Multiple human and drug trafficking, broken to pieces. There's no case he can't solve, given time and data.

                  Does this incur paradox? I mean, he's continuously finishing cases which would be impossible for anyone else. But he's not doing anything... supernatural. Just consistently excellent at his job.
                  I can see Paradox happening in a subtle way. The success rate attracts attention of investigative journalists; some of the convictions get over-turned on appeal, witnesses are found to have been bribed or otherwise coerced, whilst the convicted person is considered guilty the rigour around evidence collection invalidates the conviction. That sort of thing. It never quite nails the NWO agent down entirely, but opinion starts to shift away from it being as successful as possible and taints the whole unit. Political pressure mounts and maybe the best thing is to disband and try again?

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                  • #10
                    Maybe the judges and jury don't buy his explanation of the evidence? It's the case of 'everyone knows he's guilty, but paradox makes it do that it's irrelevant'

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                    • #11
                      Any form of magick can cause a Paradox Backlash if the spell Botches. Even Coincident stuff. Otherwise...

                      Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
                      A question on paradox. You see things. There's no case that he can't fix. The city he's in? No more missing cases. Mutiple cases of corruption, busted. Multiple human and drug trafficking, broken to pieces. There's no case he can't solve, given time and data.

                      Does this incur paradox? I mean, he's continuously finishing cases which would be impossible for anyone else. But he's not doing anything... supernatural. Just consistently excellent at his job.
                      By the usual rules, what happens in these cases it's that the mage incurs in the Domino Effect. This is a very subtle form of Paradox that makes the spell have a penalty that increases each time it's casted. Basically, the Effects are still Coincidental, but become harder and harder to cast (a +1 to the difficulty per each new casting). This increases the chance of Failing (the detective's methods would start to fail, his intuition would be less certere) and of Botching (in wich case, yes, Paradox gets accumulated and could backlash)

                      Maybe the judges and jury don't buy his explanation of the evidence? It's the case of 'everyone knows he's guilty, but paradox makes it do that it's irrelevant'
                      In the case of Backlash, I do think it's a possible effect, yes.

                      It may also be the influence of a Paradox spirit that turns the judges against him or destroy or otherwise compromise critical proof before the trial.

                      Silence caused by this, if Dynamic, could take the form of fake crimes or fake evidence appearing arround the mage. If the Silence it's Static, the detective could be absolutely certain that something blatantly false it's true (typical case of a detective obsessing with the culpability of someone w/o enough proof). A Morbidity based Silence (in the case you want things go darker) could actually cause crimes to happen arround the detective (or turn the detective into a murderer)
                      Last edited by Aleph; 08-23-2019, 08:31 AM.

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                      • #12
                        How do you decide what form the backlash takes?

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                        • #13
                          The ST choses whatever he sees fit.

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                          • #14
                            "How do you decide what form the backlash takes?"
                            Outside of a flaw in the book that makes it so your default backlash is quiet (And it says default ,not just 'the only one you can use', ST can still choose) it depends on the situation /ST.

                            Being in court and trying to do something rather vulgar? (Badgering the witness into giving up his life secrets might qualify, though it could still be coincidental. Maybe they botch) Would probably warrant a small quiet flaw 'You start thinking something rather specific such as: They are completely innocent' even though you are trying to get them in prison, as opposed to 'You take 3 lethal damage in the middle of court' or 'A spirit barges in and demands you to go stupid wizard jail'.

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                            • #15
                              Aleph, the Domino Effect is usually applied to Effects within the same scene, but applying to someone's career as a whole is an interesting idea. It makes characters more dynamic. Of course the mechanics of it would probably need to be loose and up to ST discretion.

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