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On the subject of practices and the necessity of conjunctional Arcana

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  • On the subject of practices and the necessity of conjunctional Arcana

    One thing that I'm currently struggling to piece through is how, in some cases, to determine whether or not a certain effect requires a second arcanum to accomplish (as the effect seems to be under the purview of another arcanum), or if the effect can be achieved through a single arcanum alone.
    As an example, there is a spell in Death that while requiring no other arcanum, allows you to create solid objects out of shadows. However, "Solids" is under the purview of Matter. So it seems to me that this implies that "The state of being solid" is not the way Matter's purview should be interpreted. Rather, "Things that are ordinarily solids" are under the purview of matter. Is this correct? because if that is true then that makes every individual arcanum much more versatile. You would only need three dots in Forces to make a blade of solid fire, or a pool of liquid lightning with no Matter required. Also you could not only make a suit of armor out of shadows with Death 3 Weaving, but you could use Death 3 Perfecting to increase its armor rating like the matter spell "Aegis". However, I am not 100% convinced that this is the way it is meant to be interpreted. I would appreciate any insight offered.

  • #2
    It all comes down to what you define a subject's "properties" as.
    Which given Magic extends beyond science, is kind of weird and confusing.

    Death's "Shadow Crafting" considers a shadow's solidity to be something it could affect.
    So in the same vein, you could have Forces alter the properties of light, to make it solid. Capture sunlight in a bottle, throw it at a vampire.
    Or use Death 3's Perfecting to improve that Death-crafted Shadow-suit.

    As far as I can tell, right now the only need for Conjunctive Arcana, is if you're doing something you can't fully do with only one.
    Like crafting a Golem, and then sticking a Ghost in it (Death + Matter).
    Or, to use the classic example, turning a Vampire into a Lawnchair (Death + Matter).

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    • #3
      Yeah, the purview is specifically talking about matter in the form of solids, not the state of solidity itself.

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      • #4
        I think it can include the state of solidity as well. Just note that just because a thing is in an Arcanum's purview it doesn't mean it's exclusively tied to that Arcanum and cannot be affected without that Arcanum. Note that Life includes metamorphosis but all Arcana can cause transformations with Patterning (and other Practices) without having to include Life.
        Another example: Bone and teeth are solid matters, but Life can on its own transform them into body fluids, both affecting solid matters and their state of solidity, all without Matter.


        Bloodline: The Stygians
        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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        • #5
          For better examples of when conjunction is required, look at some of the spells that have additional effects when certain arcana are added. The Space 3 spell Ban is the easiest example of it, it creates a pocket of space that nothing can get in or out of. By adding other arcanum you can "filter" what is affected and what isn't. For instance adding matter you can allow air in and out so people inside don't suffocate, or with Forces you can allow heat in and out, etc.

          Many effects can be achieved with a single arcana despite their effect interacting with things normally under the purview of other arcana, but the big difference is whether the spell is directly affecting that substance / material / concept, is the effect on it secondary to what the spell is doing.

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          • #6
            Thinking too hard about conjunctional arcana can start turning into situations where even published spells start looking like they need other arcana, like the spell that turns someone into a shadow. a lot of people scratched their heads about it for a loooong time, wondering why it didn't need death+life or something like that.

            It seems the solution is to find the justification that has spells use as little arcana as is reasonable, and as little practice as reasonable. This is why we have a Ruling Forces spell that increases the heat of a fire. On first hand, it looks like it should be Perfecting, but it *can* be ruling if you consider it collecting heat from the room and causing the fire to burn fuel faster, which are all comfortably ruling effects--the result is that you concentrate a fire to be more effective. Finding ways to use as little arcana and as little practices as possible (for the dot values required) is apparently the way to go, however, if you DO go conjunctional, the reach costs will be very particular about which arcana has the strongest, advanced-practice effect. The most complicated spell I've ever seen is Oubliette from the 1st Edition, which I'd love to get into a discussion sometime about if its arcana and practices could be cheapened, as an example of how 2E tries for minimalism due to the pre-existing complexity of this versatile system.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by THE DUNKENING View Post
              One thing that I'm currently struggling to piece through is how, in some cases, to determine whether or not a certain effect requires a second arcanum to accomplish (as the effect seems to be under the purview of another arcanum), or if the effect can be achieved through a single arcanum alone.
              As an example, there is a spell in Death that while requiring no other arcanum, allows you to create solid objects out of shadows. However, "Solids" is under the purview of Matter. So it seems to me that this implies that "The state of being solid" is not the way Matter's purview should be interpreted. Rather, "Things that are ordinarily solids" are under the purview of matter. Is this correct?
              Matter's purview is really "atoms and things comprised of atoms".

              because if that is true then that makes every individual arcanum much more versatile. You would only need three dots in Forces to make a blade of solid fire, or a pool of liquid lightning with no Matter required.
              Yes to the fire, practically speaking you can make a blade of fire at two dots of forces (you just make the fire burn blade shaped).

              Not to the liquid lightning. If you wanted to grant electricity the properties of being a liquid you'd need conjunctional Matter. If you just wanted electricity to behave in a manner identifiable as fluid dynamics you'd only need Forces 2 (Ruling).

              Also you could not only make a suit of armor out of shadows with Death 3 Weaving, but you could use Death 3 Perfecting to increase its armor rating like the matter spell "Aegis". However, I am not 100% convinced that this is the way it is meant to be interpreted. I would appreciate any insight offered.
              This is correct, you can do something similar with Shape Matter and Aegis in Matter. The balance comes from Death requiring two active spells to do it, whereas Matter does not.


              Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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              • #8
                Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                Matter's purview is really "atoms and things comprised of atoms".
                As long as it’s not alive.

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                • #9
                  For clarification, I've been basing my understanding of purviews off of the literal purview listings at the beginning of each published spell section. For Matter, one of those things is "Solids". That is why I sought the clarification.
                  Also, I would find it quite helpful if you outlined for me the difference between the properties of being a liquid and behaving according to fluid dynamics. I'm a little lost there.
                  Additionally, I believe there was a misunderstanding regarding the fire blade. I didn't mean "fire in the shape of a blade", I meant "fire in the shape of a blade that behaves like a solid and interacts with other solid objects"
                  Last edited by THE DUNKENING; 11-03-2018, 06:02 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by THE DUNKENING View Post
                    For clarification, I've been basing my understanding of purviews off of the literal purview listings at the beginning of each published spell section. For Matter, one of those things is "Solids". That is why I sought the clarification.
                    I phrased it the way I did because it covers solids, liquids, and gasses in a way that limits it to physical things, rather than 'solids' made of shadow-stuff.

                    Your instinct is correct, Matter covers only those things that are naturally physical, shadow is not a physical thing.

                    Also, I would find it quite helpful if you outlined for me the difference between the properties of being a liquid and behaving according to fluid dynamics. I'm a little lost there.

                    Liquid: a substance that flows freely but is of constant volume, having a consistency like that of water or oil.

                    Fluid Dynamics.

                    The properties of being a liquid or gas are firmly within the purview of Matter, thus granting something the properties of liquid or gas would require Matter 3 (Weaving) as a conjunctional; causing something to act within the bounds of fluid dynamics (i.e. obey the equations) that would not normally do so (be that thing a solid, shadow stuff, electricity, or something else) is simply an application of ruling.

                    The difference is effect: with the former method (adding Matter 3) you'd end up with a pool of lightning that anyone could walk up to, dip a mason jar in, and come up with lightning inside their mason jar, it would naturally behave as a fluid for as long as the spell lasted; with the latter method it'd still be electrons moving and nothing else, only the person controlling the electricity could move it in a fluid-esque manner and there wouldn't really be anything to put in your jar.


                    Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scarlet Witch View Post
                      Thinking too hard about conjunctional arcana can start turning into situations where even published spells start looking like they need other arcana, like the spell that turns someone into a shadow. a lot of people scratched their heads about it for a loooong time, wondering why it didn't need death+life or something like that.
                      What always bothered me with that spell is why the gear and clothes also turn into shadow without Matter, when for example the Shapechange spell in Life 4 requires Matter to do the same. It seems a bit arbitrary to be honest. Also there is no spell in Forces as far as I know that turns a subject into energy, would such a spell only require Forces to turn the person and his/her belongings to energy?

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                      • #12
                        Shadow Flesh is a really bad example since it does break the guidelines set previously in the book and doesn't work the same way as similar spells.

                        Originally posted by THE DUNKENING View Post
                        For clarification, I've been basing my understanding of purviews off of the literal purview listings at the beginning of each published spell section. For Matter, one of those things is "Solids". That is why I sought the clarification.
                        My clarification is that just because something falls under one Arcanum doesn't mean it's exclusively tied to that Arcanum. If a type of solid falls under another Arcanum as well, that Arcanum is enough to affect the solid. See my above example with teeth and bones as solids still being able to be manipulated by Life.
                        However, transforming your teeth into pure steel requires both Life and Matter because steel doesn't fall under Life as it's not organic or naturally occurring in other life forms. With transformations you have to use Arcana related to the subject both before and after the transformation. Your solid fire knife probably doesn't work without Matter because solid fire isn't really fire anymore.
                        Last edited by Tessie; 11-03-2018, 04:12 PM.


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                        • #13
                          I’m getting the impression that, as Tessie has indicated, the source of my confusion is that death (or at least shadow crafting) doesn’t follow the established guidelines. I comprehend now the distinction you were making between being a fluid and acting according to fluid dynamics. My confusion stemmed from the perception that if matter is required to make something interact with physical matter as if it has the properties of a liquid, I didn’t see why the same wouldn’t be the case for making something act like a solid as is the case with shadow crafting (heck, the first sentence in the description of that spell is “the caster can morph and harden shadows into solid 3 dimensional forms”).

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                          • #14
                            Shadowcrafting doesn’t really break the established guidelines. The one everyone trips over is Shadow Flesh.

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                            • #15
                              Wait it doesn’t? I am sorry, I am getting confused. I can’t tell if the general consensus is that you can give things under an arcanum’s purview physical properties as if it were matter without conjunctions Matter it not. Because shadow crafting does that.

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