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Magical computer programs? Can other mages do what Phemonoe does?

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  • #16
    So the funny thing about sympathetic connections is that they form without magic at all.

    The fire analogy would go like this:

    Does a forest fire have sympathetic connection to the bon fire which started it,which is both technically still connected to it and still burning?
    I'd say yes and a pretty strong connection.
    The server which is the central point (the original bon fire) through which all the other lines of fire spread.

    The thing about computer is that with the proper permissions and an active connection those "lines of fire" can be on or off.

    We're not talking about any magical effect, we're discussing a reason why Panopticon Seers with a technological bent are frightening or the same with Mastigos Free Council. Sympathy is something you can get via mundane means (a bit of hair if you're old school, or a bit of program with a live active control which is yours and for all practical and likely metaphysical and magical symbol purposes "in your current possession" would reasonable be a sympathetic connection, I'd say without magic even.

    I think that they muddle this with magic confuses the issue of sympathy is connection and implies ways to multiply magical effects with computers because many modern day people in real life (many of whom I know personally and like a great deal) treat computers with the same level of understanding the pacific islanders did when they made wood and bamboo planes in cargo cults after world war 2. Computers are not magic in real life, even though it does feel neat to be treated with the respect of a tribal shaman when I troubleshoot people's concerns.

    Thematically speaking, I don't think it makes sense for mundane things made of "The Lie" to multiply Supernal Truths into this Fallen World (such as a spell with basically makes more separate instances of the same spell just because someone Ctrl C + Ctrl V). Having magic cleverly exploit existing processes which happen naturally within the Lie? (Like sympathetic connections spreading when things are shared) That fits better. Remember Panopticon is a Seer of the Throne Ministry, that mean overwhelming interconnection is part of the plan for oppression and built into the system of the Lie. Technology allowing people to tap into that is logical and needed for dystopian police states.
    Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 06-10-2020, 06:43 AM.


    “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
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    • #17
      So going by the letter of the game rules, how would this actually turn into something useful?

      You have possession of the control server for a mobile phone app. That thing has sympathetic connections to millions of instances of the app, all of equal strength. So problem #1 is finding the connection to a specific instance of the app running on the phone that belongs to a specific person. Correspondence as-is is not very useful for this.

      Let's say you solve that somehow, or you don't care who you target. The next step is Borrow Threads to acquire the connection that the server has to the instance of the app. The app probably just has a connection to the phone where it's installed. All interactions between the user and the app are mediated through phone's hardware. So I guess the next step is Correpondence on the app, and then Borrow Threads to get the connection that the app has to the phone. These spells are cast sympathetically, so you need a sympathy yantra. I guess the source code of the app will work for that. Now the mage has a connection to the phone. Repeat that one more time. We need a sympathy yantra for the phone. I guess the mage could use a phone of the same make and model in her possession. Finally the mage has a connection to the actual user with the strength that the phone had to that user, but we need a sympathy yantra for the user too. Hopefully the user has a selfie on the phone? If so the mage can cast a spell on the phone to retrieve that. That spell probably requires Forces. FInally the mage has a connection and a sympathy yantra for the user. Just getting to this point required at least 5 mana -- and a lot more of the mage doesn't have Space Ruling or rotes/praxes for these spells (Phemonoe doesn't). it's going to cost another mana to cast a spell against that user as sympathetic range.



      That's a lot of hoops. The reason I called DeSchedule a "Rule of Cool" thing is because it glosses over all of this for the sake of having an antagonist with a cool gimmick. Yeah you could quibble about whether we really need to go through the hardware or not or the exact quality of the sympathy yantras the mage would use. It doesn't substantially change the point I'm making. Phemonoe herself has Space 2 and Chronologue is not a Space legacy. Phemonoe doesn't even have the free Reach needed to pull this off as instant casting without Paradox. I don't buy a Seer setting up this huge enterprise that can only be properly leveraged by some assumed Mastigos buddy.

      I probably come off as a little shrill here but it bothers me a bit when the game designers feel like they have to gloss past the rules of the magic system to do something legitimately cool with magic. If you're going to draw the lines you should try to color inside them.
      Last edited by galivet; 06-10-2020, 02:27 PM.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by galivet View Post
        Finally the mage has a connection to the actual user with the strength that the phone had to that user, but we need a sympathy yantra for the user too. Hopefully the user has a selfie on the phone? If so the mage can cast a spell on the phone to retrieve that. That spell probably requires Forces. FInally the mage has a connection and a sympathy yantra for the user. Just getting to this point required at least 5 mana -- and a lot more of the mage doesn't have Space Ruling or rotes/praxes for these spells (Phemonoe doesn't). it's going to cost another mana to cast a spell against that user as sympathetic range.
        …The sympathy's to and through the phone, man. The user is irrelevant to leveraging magic to find out stuff that happens around the phone.

        Ninety-nine percent of DeSchedule is an algorithm backed by a Silicon Valley tech startup whose secret board of directors is a Seer Pylon whose focal member reads as a time-traveller to Mage Sight because an Exarch shunted her out of the time loop that was her Awakening.

        It's already established that mages have sympathy with their spells and magical items they create, and this type of phenomenon is keeping company with institutional-level magic oddities like Panopticon being able to leverage a sympathetic connection to anyone as long as they have a sympathy Yantra or masters of the Egregore being able to use being in a Mysterium Sanctum to reach any member of the Order. They can get sympathy Yantras from the mountain of data-gathering tools they employ and have access to through mundane channels.

        I probably come off as a little shrill here but it bothers me a bit when the game designers feel like they have to gloss past the rules of the magic system to do something legitimately cool with magic. If you're going to draw the lines you should try to color inside them.
        This is an element in the Rumors section of a character writeup in a Night Horrors book. It's a story hook about a thing that would take at least a full story for a group of player characters to build.

        There is pretty directly one-to-one comparison to be made between this and Conspiracy Icons in Deviant or Infrastructure in Demon — the rules of the magic system are built for the scale of player characters to leverage normally, and "build a big thing that lets you break the rules in specific ways" is firmly established as kosher by the way the entire rest of this franchise operates.

        Phemonoe's a Mystery with a magically-backed wiretap service at her fingertips because she's touched by the Prophet and obsessed with predestination, but her writeup is there to offer her weird situation and the basics of her Legacy more than it's there to elucidate on Silicon Valley archmagic. You should not be looking to something on the scope of Occult Google Calendar for tips on how to do normal magic with software.


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
          You should not be looking to something on the scope of Occult Google Calendar for tips on how to do normal magic with software.
          Agreed, and that's what I started this thread to explore. I was hoping that the most significant published material I've yet seen that deals with magic+software would provide some clues about how players could build interesting magical software systems, and the conclusion of the thread is that it doesn't and it's not meant to.

          In the first part of the above post though I was more exploring what a normal mage (i.e. without easy access to sympathy yantras for everyone on earth) with a popular app would have to go through to leverage it for sympathetic casting against strangers.
          Last edited by galivet; 06-10-2020, 07:26 PM.

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          • #20
            So, lets see if i can come up with something.

            Our constraints are that the imbued item cannot be copied, so we cannot have multiple instances of the imbued software being created without a mage to imbue the copies.

            Is there a difference between imbuing a device and imbuing the software running on the device?
            With the above constraint, no. However, there are some significant advantages, even for 'offline' software:

            1) Software and hardware are separate. While you can imbue an item with one active effect (i.e. the hardware), you can imbue software running on imbued hardware separately. That gets past the 'one contingent effect' part. This is the case for a dedicated, or single purpose computer (such as a calculator). Yes, those things still exist
            2) This is the logical extension of point 1, so for general purpose computers (i.e. computers that can run any software), you can run multiple imbued apps on it, so you are effectively carrying multiple imbued items in one physical item.
            3) While you can't make copies of imbued software, nothing is stopping you from moving it. It's the same as giving someone an imbued item, except you don't have to do it in person. You can send it by email.
            4) Not all the software has to be imbued. Maybe 90% of the code is just normal code, and there's only one function called doMagic() that is imbued. The rest of the software can be maintained by anyone else. Yay open source.
            5) Do not overestimate the difficulty of writing really cool "one off" programs. There is so much open source code available online that can be borrowed and used to put together a pretty cool application to meet your needs. If you know what you're doing, it's not impossible.

            For websites, there are more advantages. It's probably going out on a limb and being a bit loose with the rules, but i think it's a reasonable bonus for someone who is going the extra mile imbuing software.
            1) Magic as a Service: You put your website on a public server, anyone with internet access can find it (and potentially use it). You better have put some security on that
            2) Remote casting: I would allow people interacting with the imbued software through a device to count as being in contact with the software for purposes of being affected by the spell, without needing sympathetic magic.


            Here's some ideas:
            A battery improvement app (imbued software) that casts 'Perpetual motion' on your device (with a very long duration).
            Or one that uses forces to give the device awesome wifi regardless of location
            For something different: a website with two imbued functions. Borrow threads and teleport. You upload a picture to the website (and it casts borrow threads, taking a copy of your sympathetic link to the location into itself), then you click Go, and if the sympathetic connection is strong enough, it uses the uploaded picture as a representational Yantra to teleport you there.


            People are also overestimating the complexity of conditions that you can put on an imbued item when they are equating activation conditions on an imbued item to conditions that can be programmed into software.
            Do not underestimate the power of data analysis algorithms

            Anyway, I've said my piece, hope it's useful to someone.

            /software engineer out

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            • #21
              Wouldn't she be able to use Forces and Prime to Make an AI ? This would be a purely computational construct, only able to affect digital media. When a prediction doesn't go well, the AI travels to the location via a backdoor. Then it collects the data and travels back to an imbued database. This area has a multiple imbuements of Time spells that can be cast sympathetically. Due to the massive amount of data they have, the sympathetic Withstand rating is not too bad. Then the Prime part of the spell comes into action, allowing it to use its internal mana reserves to activate them. Because this is all done by an AI in the digital web, it can all happen in moments.

              Admins and other trusted mages know how to use the High Speech as a form of highest priority message, giving command codes to the AI rather than having the system call it to deal with outliers. With a big enough cluster of them, all users can be served. Its also the key to the future, why spend effort thinking of spells or collecting mana ? DeSchedule will do it for you, faster, more reliably, more potently and without requiring Awakened to exert their Will. Then complacency will breed routine and none but the Horologian will be able to muster enough drive to improvise the simplest spell, soon they too will follow the Phrophet's schedule.
              Last edited by KaiserAfini; 11-24-2020, 11:06 PM.


              New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
              The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

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              • #22
                Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                Wouldn't she be able to use Forces and Prime to Make an AI ?
                She's a Gnosis 5 Acanthus with Time 5 and enough Space to leverage sympathy, which is a very different skillset.


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                  She's a Gnosis 5 Acanthus with Time 5 and enough Space to leverage sympathy, which is a very different skillset.
                  Yep, but it also says this is their Pylon's core project. She is the leader, but not the only one working on it. So if there was an Obrimos with Time (which is the Ruling Arcanum of the Legacy they are developing), they could have made that component.


                  New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                  The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                  The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                    Yep, but it also says this is their Pylon's core project.
                    It also says she doesn't make AI and describes her in terms that mark her as a borderline archetypal specimen of her Path when it comes to micromanaging everything and seeming to have it all together. She's the leader and a first-degree Master, which likely means her peers are not substantially far out of her league in mystical insight when they already have developing a Legacy and pulling the strings of a tech startup on their hands.

                    She is the leader, but not the only one working on it.
                    You asked if she wouldn't be able to use Arcana she didn't have. The singular pronoun was used. Hopefully you understand my confusion.

                    So if there was an Obrimos with Time (which is the Ruling Arcanum of the Legacy they are developing), they could have made that component.
                    I feel as though an Obrimos with more Gnosis than her, employing spellcraft that requires twice as many Masteries as she has to make a thing she doesn't use to feed the project she's at the heart of that's built around her personal Obsessions as they dovetail with the will of the Exarchs, is something that would have come up if she had access to it or enough inclination to use it to erase free will from human society.

                    She's a Seer. She is working with other Seers. The Iron Pyramid is fraught with politics, not everybody has every idea or the ability to execute on it, and even the Awakened are limited in their ability to play at being everywhere at once. The answer to the question is "Yeah, if she had everything and existed solely to be a precedent file for Stuff You Can Do With Magic And Programming instead of being the focal point of a Night Horrors storyhook."


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