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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:31 pm 
Sanci
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You can find an elaborate conmagic theory in Arka language and Kaldia world which are created in Japan.
Here is the conmagic theory of Kaldia in Japanese.
http://constructed-language.org/klel/yu ... =20&flei=0
This article is from a direction word in Arka-Japanese Dictionary. It contains more than 15,000 words.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:05 am 
Lebom
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Eandil wrote:
Magic (Magia)
Magical ability or magic is defined as the capacity an intelligence has to transform the mind's ideas into real energy; expressed as change in reality.
[...]
I hope you find this interesting, sorry if this post was too long. I'll be glad to clarify or respond to any question.

No need to apologize, the post length is perfectly fine and yes, yes I do find it interesting. I look functional magic like this where people take the time to work through, step by step, how the individual elements of magic in their constructed world work. Too often in novels magic is used as a convenient deus ex machina plot device that puts the reader on an unequal footing with the other, in the sense that in a realistic novel we can predict what's plausible based on our knowledge of the real world--not so when haphazard magic is brought into the equation.

Oh wait, that's the problem: there is no equation. That's why I really like what you've done here, explaining magic with units and everything. As I read that post I felt like I was in an introductory university class or something, especially what with how you take terms that any fantasy reader has a loose familiarity with (e.g. mana) and give them a precise definition. This is very much like how I feel in physics when we discuss concepts like work and energy, so you've hit exactly the right tone.

Looking forward to more. Keep it coming.

Astraios wrote:
So, the magic! First, what is it? I suppose it's a force, really, like gravity or magnetism. It's invisible, it's everywhere, and you can't escape it, but you can harness it and use it. So. There are different sorts of it.

I only have an inkling of an idea on what a magic system would look like if I created it, and this is pretty much it. Magic is just the ability to manipulate a force in addition to the one's we're familiar with, an to apply it to any object. Other than that one, inexplicable force, Newtonian mechanics would apply exactly as they do on earth. The most obvious application would be something like telekinesis, I'm thinking, but I'd like to play around with it more and see what I come up with.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:36 am 
Sumerul
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Ollock wrote:
AFAIK, the cardinal directions were named according to astronomical observations before compasses existed. The origins of the names in English point to this, at least.
Hmm, okay. I'll just continue using them for convenience myself, and maybe the conpeople will use different names for them - north will be towards-the-sunset, south towards-the-sunrise, and east and west will depend on where exactly the people are and what they have east and west of them. They won't be aware of magnetism, so wait hang on I just had an idea. If magic creates a field like magnetism does, then obviously they should be able to use that to navigate by. So magic flows from south to north (and that's why the sun goes from south to north), and east and west will be with the flow on your left and right. That gives me a thing to align objects used as magical foci against - "lay a blue feather with its tip pointing two degrees upstream of crosswise-on-the-left (two degrees south of east) and say these words..." And it also gives me an excuse to have them invent compasses that point not towards magnetic north but towards 'magical north'. So the 'north' marked on my maps is magical north and not magnetic north. Exciting stuff! Thanks for leading me onto the idea. xD


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:42 am 
Smeric
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Eandil wrote:
I agree it's a bit difficult, that's the reason why in this framework I'm trying to provide for magic which doesn't really affect normal physics. It seems that the best way to do this is through metaphysical dualism.


Salmoneus wrote:
No no no.
Your account is confused. I'm not sure that it's either "metaphysical" or "dualist". How exactly are you defining dualism? Dualism of what? Are you talking about predicate dualism, property dualism, or substance dualism? How, given that it is interactionist, is it genuinely dualist at all? You say it is "magic which doesn't really affect normal physics", but of course, in order to be magic, it MUST affect normal physics [unless you're proposing mind/body dualism, and then making all magic only illusionary]. "Affecting normal physics" is the same as "having a noticeable effect".


That was a vehement opposition ;) (I encourage it). Let me explain myself. What I meant by "not affecting normal physics" is that I'm not required to re-define physics as in this universe; I merely add the magic part to it and make them both fit together. I'm talking about earthly physics as a framework, not as noticeable effects. Which means that my magic of course has effects on the world, but it doesn't change the fact that kinetic energy is E = 1/2*m*v^2 or that mass is E = m*c^2.

The dualism I'm proposing is expressed in the post with a big "Magic" on the title, did you actually read it before replying? Reality is composed by two planes, a non-physical and a physical plane. I'm using the term "metaphysics" as the "study of the nature of reality", think of Plato's metaphysics as a intelligible-sensible world dualism. My usage of "dualism" is referring to the dual nature of reality I'm proposing: it affects energy, body/soul, etc. I don't see why my fictional dualism can't be interactionist, think about some mind/body theories in our own world which link mental processes to brain processes causally. Could you elaborate?


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:49 am 
Smeric
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Sevly wrote:
No need to apologize, the post length is perfectly fine and yes, yes I do find it interesting. I look functional magic like this where people take the time to work through, step by step, how the individual elements of magic in their constructed world work. Too often in novels magic is used as a convenient deus ex machina plot device that puts the reader on an unequal footing with the other, in the sense that in a realistic novel we can predict what's plausible based on our knowledge of the real world--not so when haphazard magic is brought into the equation.

Oh wait, that's the problem: there is no equation. That's why I really like what you've done here, explaining magic with units and everything. As I read that post I felt like I was in an introductory university class or something, especially what with how you take terms that any fantasy reader has a loose familiarity with (e.g. mana) and give them a precise definition. This is very much like how I feel in physics when we discuss concepts like work and energy, so you've hit exactly the right tone.

Looking forward to more. Keep it coming.


Thank you! I share your views and I'm glad you got that impression, it's precisely what I'm aiming for :). Next time I'll describe more general things about magic schools, but I think I'll also include some mathematical inquiry for plausibility. I'm not sure how it'll turn out, however.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:54 am 
Smeric
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Ouagadougou wrote:
I toyed with three different systems of magic:
1) Arcane Theory - the pseudoscientific one. Arcane theory posits that two elementary substances comprise the known universe: arcana (energy) and neutra (matter - not related to RL neutrons). Arcana and neutra aren't merely energy and mass; they are the basic, indivisible, most essential forms of energy and mass, and the cunning sorcerer will use them to create things, ranging from a sphere of lightning (arcanon magic) to a wall of earth (neutron magic). Magic is the study of the manipulation of arcanons and neutrons; the conversion between the two (a la E=mc^2) is at the foundation of the divide between wizardry (arcanons) and magecraft (neutrons); since mages cannot move masses at that speed, the two particles remain divided.
2) Magic as Art/Music - similar to your idea of natural talent, although slightly subverted. Everyone can at least clap, or hum, barring those with deformities, impediments, or physical/mental defects; so too can everyone use magic, to a degree. One can imagine children being taught simple spells, just as we would teach children simple songs. Music is the most basic art, along with storytelling and dance, but is the least permanent; basic magic (spoken, moved, or sounded) only lasts for as long as the motion or noise is sustained. While everyone can at least sing or use bodily percussion, some people elect to take up instruments; with magic, they might choose wands, or cards, etc. More difficult crafts, such as smithing or painting, require more skill, but last longer; magic inlaid into objects (enchanting, artificing, chamwork, or alchemy) is equally difficult and permanent.
3) Magic by Powers - inspired by Zompist and the Bartimaeus trilogy, to an extent. Magic manifests itself almost exclusively in a physical form, both in substances such as herbs, woods, gems and metals, and as animals, elementals, or imps, or djinni. If these are captured and bound, they can follow commands and provide services. Djinni in particular are quite useful, since they can grant requests (usually one request granted will extinguish the binding, although stronger ones can last for hundreds of wishes) as long as they do not transgress natural laws. Some people might be born with magic in them; they are known as the gods-cursed, since few can control it, and they are prone to causing wanton destruction. This is due to the mother's overuse of or overexposure to magic during the pregnancy, similar to FAS although usually without the mental deficiencies and physical handicaps that accompany it.

Thank you for sharing! I liked them, specially the first.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:28 am 
Smeric
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Theory of spells

Spellcasting

Spellcasting is the process of casting spells. A spell is a particular and individual display of magic, differentiated from other ones by the kind of energy generated, the type of aether used, the duration, the mana cost, etc.

Sometimes the boundary between one spell and the next, or combos, can be unclear; just like words in human language. Before discussing the conscious dimension of spellcasting, I'd like to talk about the ontological (physical and non-physical) one.

I have talked previously about how aether converts into energy through its cycle; inert aether > static aether > dynamic aether. I defined one aetherial as the correspondent to 1 J, but this is an over-simplification. The real picture is not well understood precisely because the correspondence between the non-physical and the physical isn't either. Magic is more of an empirical than a exact "science" (well, it's more of an art, actually). But more on that later.

Inert aether presents itself in a wide variety of types, spread all over the world. Some are more stable and more abundant than others; there are reactions going on all the time, as if they were reactive gases in our world. Aether is not made of particles, but we can think of it as if it were to understand the reactions, to modelize and wrap our minds around it.

Of all possible types of aethers, some seem to be more stable. We don't know if aethers have a substructure, they may, but our understanding is limited and we can't even make a physics/chemistry distinction in their study. The magic correspondence to their interactions in the real world is all we can study, and it seems to be highly arbitrary.

Aethers which are absorbed into the soul lose their specificity. That's why mana is homogeneous. A person who has never absorbed inert igneous aether can't make spells based on it, but after they have, they can convert any type of aether into dynamic igneous aether (fire spells) through mana (static unmarked aether). Some types of aether don't exist freely and are crafted from the person's own will. This is the origin of soul or mental magic, but that's another topic.

For example, let's discuss the two most common magical reactions: annihilation reactions and additive combinations. For this example, we'll use aereous aether (ar ae) and tellureous (or telluric, te ae) aether (wind and earth aether). They are opposites.

For an annihilation reaction, think of two sorcerers casting spells that produce equal dynamic aether, but one aereous and one tellureous. Upon meeting, each "particle" will undergo the reaction:

1 ar ae + 1 te ae > 2 ae

And the mind will lose its control over it, becoming inert. Here the net balance of energy has been preserved. But let's see the real effects, the magic: the wind spell has clashed with the earth spell, and both sorcerers have seen their powers neutralize, collapsing and disappearing. The shade energy they have seen has spontaneously appeared and then disappeared. The momentaneous physical expression of 1 ar ae is normally a certain amount of kinetic energy employed in the movement of the air (it doesn't need to be 1 J); the expression of 1 te ae is a certain ammount of mass employed in forming a rock, soil or whatever and moving it (it doesn't need o be 1 J). Both don't need to coincide, and most of the time they don't. But by the end of the reaction, these physical energy shades simply don't exist anymore: the real thing has been going on in the non-physical plane, and is simply 1 ar ae + 1 te ae > 2 ae, transforming the marked aethers into unmarked or basic arcane aether, which is inert and doesn't have any physical impact or expression.

If the casters had casted both wind spells, there would be no reaction, 1 ar ae + 1 ar ae = 2 ar ae. The equal-energy spells would have added making the double amount of aether, and the physical energy expressed would also be additive of the energy shade of each spell. Normally, after this, since there's no reason the magical effect leaves the physical plane; the 2 ar ae would stop existing as non-physical and we would be left with a certain amount of joules expressed in wind blowing. Is the balance broken? No, because 1 ar ae does not necessarily correspond to 1 J, that's just what the unmarked aether corresponds to. But I have said that they can be converted to one another within the body interchangeably, so am I contradicting myself? No, because I have said the mind can convert them, but I haven't said the cost is free. Normally, conversion is a subconscious process and aether may be liberated or substracted from the enviroment; but again this is not well attested (it must happen, because it's the only explanation, but the details are unknown). Just to mention the principle so that energy is conserved.

I'll continue later.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:27 am 
Smeric
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[...]

So that's the physical explanation for spells. What about the mental one, what the intelligent being does? What does he think about?

Let's go back to music. Not everybody can play; some can. Among those who can play things, few are composers of good pieces of music. The same way, almost no human can compose magic. They can play magic, that is, already-existent spells. There is an infinite number of possible spells, corresponding to the infinite combination of aether and its types, but just like not all aether is stable, not all spells have real expression or are useful.

Composing magic would be the equivalent of creating your own spell. For example, deciding to materialize hydrogen or gold at will. Only very powerful beings can do this; even though it's possible. But no human is in principle able to. What humans do is learn what the most common types of aether are and what they can do. These possibilities are made real by certain mental states. Humans don't consciously achieve these states, what they do is try to achieve them subconciously. How? Through thoughts. Here lies the importance of words; not necessarily spoken words, just thinking about the words, the images, the effects, etc. Just like a certain piece of music evokes an emotion or a precise feeling. You can't achieve the feeling directly, but you can play the music and evoke it. As such, what a magician learns is to cause certain already-existent spells indirectly.

You can compare this to early earthly theories about elements. Empedocles thought fire, water, air and earth were the basic elements because he didn't know the underlying chemical elements. This is the current situation with magic, but it's very possibly the real picture: maybe what seems fundamental just is fundamental.

A sorcerer who casts a spell needs intelligence and up to two qualities: potestas and voluntas, which I defined in the introduction, "power" and "will". Now we can understand them: "power" is the ability a person has to cast spells. A common spell is like a recipe, you turn something into another thing. But you can't turn all of your mana pool into energy, just a part of it. You can increase the amount by becoming more powerful, and you acquire higher ranks of the same spell, more powerful performances of it. As such, we can define spell power as the maximum amount of energy we can generate through a given spell. It can be increased with higher levels of knowledge, training, amulets, etc (the mana cost is also increased). Someone is said to be powerful if they can cast powerful spells. You can be more powerful in some schools of magic if you specialize on them. All magic requires power, since power zero means no energy generated and no mana wasted: no magic.

Voluntas is only required by some types of magic. This magic is made turning static aether into kinds of dynamic aether which don't exist naturally, they only exist through conscious intervention. And not only conscious, "will" requires intent, a purpose. It can be either good intent or ill intent (benevolentia and malevolentia), but it has to be some intent. This kind of magic is usually aimed directly at the soul, and not the body. Actually, since mana is dual (it's both static aether and magical energy, physical and non-physical), magical activity affects your physical self. It interacts with your biology and vital energy, making you get tired, addicted, consumed, renewed, healthy, sick... etc.

The study of magic is called magic as well or, more formally, magiology. It's formed by many branches, including biomagic (effects of magic on life), carminology (the study of spells, from Latin carmen poem), etc. Carminology includes spell taxonomy, which is related to another major branch called magical taxonomy. It's an attempt to classify the better known types of magic in the universe. Spell taxonomy classifies spells according to their nature, and needs magical taxonomy to form the groups.

Next post I'll describe the different schools of spells, a general classification.

As always, if any part is a bit clumpsy or unclear, I'll be happy to clarify. I'd also appreciate general comments or questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:34 am 
Smeric
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I haven't completed the magic system for my conworld, and it's quite diffuse, but here is what I've got so far (funny that some things are the same you're talking about). There's a giant web, called the aether, that covers the whole world. It's in another dimension so it's not visible to any living being. Every thing in the world is attached to the web by strings of aether.

A magician can "pull" on these strings, thereby affecting the stuff that's attached to them. There are different methods for interacting with the aether.
  • One is through sound. Sound waves travel through all dimensions, so specific spoken words can resonate with the aether, making different things happen. Chants and incantations make use of this method.
  • Smell or fumes is another one. I haven't worked out the details, but somehow it affects the aether in a similar way that sound waves do. Incense and some potions make use of this.
  • Drawing glyphs. When you draw something, small strings of aether get attached to the glyph and cross eachother in different ways. Again, I haven't worked out the details so I don't know how. This method obviously gets used when you write magical glyphs or draw symbols on the ground, but also when you do different hand gestures because you're "drawing" in the air. Using a magic wand makes this easier because it channelizes the magic somehow.
  • Making pacts with, or commanding spirits. There are nature spirits and other supernatural beings. They can control the aether more directly and easier than people because they're not quite in the same dimension as we are (I haven't worked out this either). You can also use the ghosts after deceased people (necromancy), but this is unethical so it's considered dark magic.
  • Then you can also do magic simply through thought power, but I don't know how yet.

Small items have small strands of aether attached to them, while bigger things have bigger strings. The bigger the aether strings, the more "strength" you need to affect them. For this reason it's much harder to do spectacular magic, like moving a mountain or controlling the weather, than doing small tricks, like making a feather float mid-air.

The strings of aether often gather together to form big ropes that are laid all across the world, like highways. These "aether highways" are called geomantic or ley lines, and the locations on the planet where they lay have a stronger magical power. Places where two geomantic lines cross eachother are even more powerful.

Then there's different types of divination, like tarot cards, palm reading, etc. But none of them is 100% accurate because there is no fixed destiny. There are three types of events that a divination may reveal, but you usually don't get to know which category a given divination belongs to.
  • An event that has been set into motion so long ago that it's too late to do anything about it now. This event will actually happen no matter what (assuming that the fortune teller has interpreted his/her tools correctly).
  • An event that can be stopped from happening, only thanks to you knowing about it beforehand.
  • An event that is only one out of several possible outcomes. What will happen depends on several factors that are yet undeciced. This is the most common type of divination, and the reason why fortune telling often isn't very accurate.

The nature of magic is complicated and not very well understood, but there are people and even whole universities studying it. It's kinda similar to how IRL physicists are trying to find a theory of everything.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:35 am 
Smeric
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Eandil wrote:
This maximum quantity is called the mana pool, and you measure mana in mana points which correspond to joules, since it's a form of energy.

Lol, just wondering, are there some kind of food items that have different amounts of mana calories?

Astraios wrote:
b) I don't know how a flat world's magnetic field would work)

How about everything is pulled towards the middle of the world disc for some reason? Oh, though never mind. I saw your idea in your later post which is interesting.

Astraios wrote:
(maybe the people believe in monsters and therefore the magic which forms them is activated and if people stopped believing in them they'd vanish)

Lol, this is what you say to kids who are afraid of ghosts and stuff.

Bob Johnson wrote:
I imagine most people here have toyed with the idea of a Magical Language, used only for spells because anyone who says something in it is casting a spell of some sort. ("Good morning, Bob!" "Now that you cast that, it is.")

I have a magical conlang. In its daughterlangs, people use a special magic-negating word at the beginning of every sentence so that they won't accidentally cast a spell (although that happens almost never anyway).

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:51 am 
Smeric
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Qwynegold wrote:
[...]The nature of magic is complicated and not very well understood, but there are people and even whole universities studying it. It's kinda similar to how IRL physicists are trying to find a theory of everything.


I see, that's all very interesting! Some aspects are novel to me. I like the web thing. I also found curious the thing about devination, and I guess I share the idea that the universe where the magic is set is not deterministic, there are a lot of possible destinies. I think time travel may be quite an interesting possibility to explore, now that you mention future. I'd include anything having to do with time in arcane magic; I'll talk about that category sometime soon (time and magic conform a very wide topic).

Qwynegold wrote:
Eandil wrote:
This maximum quantity is called the mana pool, and you measure mana in mana points which correspond to joules, since it's a form of energy.

Lol, just wondering, are there some kind of food items that have different amounts of mana calories?


Hmm not really. Calories are just another measure of energy, so you can measure your mana or magical energy in cal. as well (1 cal = 4.2 J or so). But you don't usually acquire it through food; you absorb them directly into your soul from the environment. I guess it works like osmosis; if your mana pool is not to its fullest capacity, it will tend to absorb aether until it is. Some people absorb faster than others, regenerate their mana faster. It can be increased with training and spirituality, so you say they have more spirit. People with a lot of spirit tend to be more resistant to fatigue or exhaustion.

Well, actually when you eat and drink you accelerate this process. I guess biological activity (like breathing too) is also attractive for aether, since it also activates the soul. But since objects are just matter, unless they're specifically enchanted for acceleration of mana regeneration, they won't feed you with aether.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:23 pm 
Avisaru
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In my conworld (with Maiyan-Ancaron-etc) there's a sort of magic-like energy called dao or maag, among other terms. In this description I'll just use dao, as that's the Ancaron word for it, and they are the most familiar with it.

Dao is an energy that fills subspace/hyperspace, a sort of parallel universe type thing to our own that can also be used for FTL travel and communication, though that's another matter. (It isn't even technically FTL, as everything is still moving slower than the speed of light in hyperspace.) The presence of all the dao gives hyperspace a blueish-white glow, and it is also dangerous to living things at high enough concentrations like it is in hyperspace, so any ships that enter hyperspace for FTL travel need some sort of protection, either shields or simply having thick hulls. The dao itself can be manipulated from the normal space, which is what is used to do FTL communications. Other events in normal space can also cause turbulence in the dao if they are strong enough, such as a black hole, or a supernova explosions, which can cause turbulence for light-years around. It is unknown just where this energy comes from exactly, but no matter how much dao is taken from hyperspace, it always quickly replenishes itself.

As mentioned, the dao can be taken from hyperspace and used to do specific actions, such as powering things like starships and other stuff, and it can also be stored in special containers. Nearly every species has a natural storage of some amount of dao, which acts as a soul. The amount of dao stored isn't enough to cause problems like exposure to dao directly in hyperspace is, and it is neatly contained besides. Certain species can manipulate dao directly, and normally use the dao stored in their soul to do this. This is safe as long as you don't overdo it, the dao in one's soul will replenish itself over time. If someone tries to do too much, they can knock themselves unconscious, and in extreme cases it is possible to complete drain the dao in the soul, in which case it basically turns them into zombies. Though about the only way this could happen is if something actively drains the dao out of them, as someone just using dao would fall unconscious long before they reach the point of zombification. Large usages that don't result in unconsciousness can leave a person feeling tired or drained, as well. Devices can be made to allow the body to use external sources of dao as well, which can reduce or eliminate these problems in someone who is expected to use a lot of dao (military forces, for example).

There are 7 known types of dao manipulation possible by people: (Machines can use it pretty much in any way, as long as it is designed to do so)

Vupdao: Basically, telekinesis, can include moving objects around, levitation, and also shields.

Cuvdao: Pyrokinesis, but more general, can also have limited temperature control over objects, also can be used to keep stuff from burning, and also to stop chemical reactions in general if powerful enough, which can also kill people by preventing their mitochondria from generating energy.

Pindao: Control over electromagnetism, also includes sensing of certain electromagnetic fields. Can be used to call down lightning bolts with enough power, but don't try it unless there's a thunderstorm or you have an external dao supply.

Daidao: Healing power, can also be used to cause genetic or other manipulation with enough power. Basically, everything up to and sometimes including death can be cured, though stuff like resurrection, regrowing limbs, and other similar uses require more than one person working as a team. Basically any body can be brought to life, but the body has to still have a soul (it lingers for a couple of days before fading away after the body dies, but certain causes of death, like major brain damage, can cause it to fade away quickly) if you don't want a zombie. Zombification can't be cured using this ability, though a new soul can be added to a body using technological means. It won't be the same person as before, though.

Bacdao: ESP type abilities, like seeing what is on the other side of a wall, or other places. Range is unknown, but gets trickier to do anything farther away from neighboring rooms, and can be blocked.

Tovdao: Telepathy type abilities, requires short distances to initiate, but can be maintained once initiated over longer distances. Can also be used to "possess" someone, which requires your will to be significantly stronger than the other person's, and also requires you to have a good supply of dao. Zombies are easy to control, having basically no will of their own.

Civdao: Basically precognition, but is tricky to do on purpose and normally this consists of flashes of the near future at times. Long range predictions get less and less accurate the farther out they are, as the future is not determined until it happens. Can also sometimes be used to show the past, which is certain, though this method is even trickier.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:24 pm 
Smeric
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Lyhoko Leaci wrote:
In my conworld (with Maiyan-Ancaron-etc) there's a sort of magic-like energy called dao or maag, among other terms. In this description I'll just use dao, as that's the Ancaron word for it, and they are the most familiar with it.[...]

Hm, I didn't expect the concept of hyperspace combining with magic. It's original. I also have the concept of "life energy" which can be drained, though I think I'll treat it in a more physical way.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:55 pm 
Smeric
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Before getting into the types of magic, some more minor branches of magiology:

Aetherology: the study of aether or non-physical energy. It's a very complex area.
Magical etology: the study of the precise connection between behavior and magic (emotions, will, etc.)
Magical archaeology: the study of magical artifacts.
Magical technology: the study of magical items, enchanting and enchantments or incantations (incantatio).

There's a difference between a magical artifact and a magical item. Firstly, it depends on age (as the contrast between archaeology and technology suggests): if several millennia ago somebody powerful enchanted an item, and the magic is still present, it can be considered an artifact, even though it's just a very old enchantment. But real artifacts are those made by higher beings: amulets from gods, from divine beings; magical runes from very old, powerful civilizations (maybe demonic), etc.

A normal enchantment on an object anybody like us could do will constitute a magical item. For example, I can place a spell on an object that increases my resistance to physical fire, fire magic or both.

There are also a lot of studies connected to magic, like the study of non-human species (specially those which are immortal). For example demonology is the study of demons, a common name used essentially for evil beings (evil has a precise definition: who seeks chaos). Probably other sapient species have their own studies, but I'm presenting this in an anthropocentrical view.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:31 pm 
Smeric
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Eandil wrote:
Qwynegold wrote:
[...]The nature of magic is complicated and not very well understood, but there are people and even whole universities studying it. It's kinda similar to how IRL physicists are trying to find a theory of everything.


I see, that's all very interesting! Some aspects are novel to me. I like the web thing. I also found curious the thing about devination, and I guess I share the idea that the universe where the magic is set is not deterministic, there are a lot of possible destinies. I think time travel may be quite an interesting possibility to explore, now that you mention future. I'd include anything having to do with time in arcane magic; I'll talk about that category sometime soon (time and magic conform a very wide topic).

Heh, I had been thinking about time travel too! It could completely mess with divination. And it's the only way to change an unchangeable fate. But I've been thinking that in my conworld time travel is something that's only hypothetical, and no one has succeeded with it yet because it requires enormous amounts of magic. Although there's one exception sorta... The creator god was supposed to have created himself by wishing that he had been born, this wish being sent backwards through time and causing himself to be born. @_@ :wink:

Eandil wrote:
Qwynegold wrote:
Eandil wrote:
This maximum quantity is called the mana pool, and you measure mana in mana points which correspond to joules, since it's a form of energy.

Lol, just wondering, are there some kind of food items that have different amounts of mana calories?


Hmm not really. Calories are just another measure of energy, so you can measure your mana or magical energy in cal. as well (1 cal = 4.2 J or so). But you don't usually acquire it through food; you absorb them directly into your soul from the environment. I guess it works like osmosis; if your mana pool is not to its fullest capacity, it will tend to absorb aether until it is. Some people absorb faster than others, regenerate their mana faster. It can be increased with training and spirituality, so you say they have more spirit. People with a lot of spirit tend to be more resistant to fatigue or exhaustion.

Well, actually when you eat and drink you accelerate this process. I guess biological activity (like breathing too) is also attractive for aether, since it also activates the soul. But since objects are just matter, unless they're specifically enchanted for acceleration of mana regeneration, they won't feed you with aether.

It was mostly a joke, because your magic system sounds like game mechanics for some RPG. And in that case there should be food items that can replenish mana. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:35 pm 
Smeric
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Qwynegold wrote:
Heh, I had been thinking about time travel too! It could completely mess with divination. And it's the only way to change an unchangeable fate. But I've been thinking that in my conworld time travel is something that's only hypothetical, and no one has succeeded with it yet because it requires enormous amounts of magic. Although there's one exception sorta... The creator god was supposed to have created himself by wishing that he had been born, this wish being sent backwards through time and causing himself to be born. @_@ :wink:


Haha. Paradoxes ftw.

Eandil wrote:
It was mostly a joke, because your magic system sounds like game mechanics for some RPG. And in that case there should be food items that can replenish mana. :wink:


Yes of course. If you know World of Warcraft you'll see a lot of similarities, specially for the schools of magic I'll describe soon. But the justification for magic through aether is something I've invented on my own.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:36 pm 
Avisaru
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Qwynegold wrote:
I have a magical conlang. In its daughterlangs, people use a special magic-negating word at the beginning of every sentence so that they won't accidentally cast a spell (although that happens almost never anyway).


Here's how I dealt with magical languages. Both White Magic (speaking Aeruyo) and Black Magic (speaking Malviz) follow the same basic rules.

1) First of all, using the magical language isn't communicating directly with the Universe (as many magical languages do in conworlds) but to spirits who can manipulate the world.
2) Though the spirits are compelled to react to human commands, there are things they cannot do.
3) Learning one of these languages is not enough by itself to command the spirits. White practitioners require long hours of meditation and years of mental training to "attune" themselves to the Aeruyo. Black practitioners must bind a Malviz to a dead body (or find a body already possessed) and use certain mental techniques to force their will upon the spirit.
4) In both cases, the command must be addressed to the spirits, and come in the form of a request or an imperative. Just reading from a holy book won't trigger anything.
5) Even though, given the above rules, and errant phrase isn't really likely to cause a spell to go off, most magical sects have a taboo against using Aeruyo/Malviz for everyday communication, just in case.

For alchemical glyphs, I think they will work more like a programming language, and will be complex enough that it takes years to learn. Plus, you must be attuned to one of the five elements through mental training, and customize all of your spells according to your chosen element.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:58 pm 
Sanci
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Not really magic, but sci-fi equivalent systems popped into my head.
a) Biological modifications: The obvious solution. "Implants" can interface directly with the bodily systems. Some can be triggered by thought, since they attach to the nervous system, and these are usually the showier kind: telekinesis (tractor beams), electricity (photon/electron discharge), telepathy (quantum entanglement), and so forth. Passive implants might deliver healing chemicals, or permit the breathing of water, or simply increase brain function. Too many implants, unless custom designed, can interfere with one another, to cause unforseen reactions.
b) Cyber-magic: similar to Zompist's Incatena cyberspace in terms of context. Basically, people can now interact through cyberspace via more "implants". Of course, wizards (read: hackers) can take control of these implants to send faulty signals; mind control in essence. In cyberspace, a hacker can distort the experience of another user. Since the cyberspace/cerebrum link is more vulnerable while logged in to the network, hackers can do even more damage, and commit potentially lethal acts.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:44 pm 
Smeric
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Ouagadougou wrote:
Not really magic, but sci-fi equivalent systems popped into my head.
a) Biological modifications: The obvious solution. "Implants" can interface directly with the bodily systems. Some can be triggered by thought, since they attach to the nervous system, and these are usually the showier kind: telekinesis (tractor beams), electricity (photon/electron discharge), telepathy (quantum entanglement), and so forth. Passive implants might deliver healing chemicals, or permit the breathing of water, or simply increase brain function. Too many implants, unless custom designed, can interfere with one another, to cause unforseen reactions.

If you're into animes and haven't seen it yet, I recommend seeing Elfen Lied. It's a very moving masterpiece and it may help you develop these ideas. There, there are diclonious which are like normal humans but have "vectors" which are like invisible limbs. I was reminded of it by this paragraph somehow. It's more about humans lack of humanity than about the sci-fi part, but it may still interest you.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:37 pm 
Smeric
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Theory of spells

Magical taxonomy

Magical taxonomy is the classification of magic and, consequently, spells. Now I'm just going to give the general classification, without talking about the details in each area. I may dedicate more writing to each area after this.

As I said, not all spells are known; the possible number of spells is infinite. Think about the phylogenetic tree of life: all present extant species are just a speck of the number of possible ones. And an even tinier fraction is categorized. But this fraction is the most common, the most noticeable; and in magic the most useful and the most important. Here I'll describe the major known classes of magic with their associated aethers. Well, their associated families of aether, since not all aethers for one class of magic are the same. Under the name igneous aether, for example, we include all aether used to produce fire magic, but not every spell may use the same family of aether.

Each class or school of magic is casted with the aid of one class (type) of aether. The families of aether (subtypes), constituting together the class of aether, correspond to different families of spells. Even further down we get to genera of spells, which are spells with similar effects, related similar mind states and also use the same family of aether. For each genus of spells there's one generic spell, and we can consider other spells in the genus variations of it. If you master a generic spell, you can master its modifications. In fact, you almost never cast the same spell twice, there's always some minor variation because you almost never get the same exact mind state again.

The first ancient wizards may have either discovered basic magic or been taught it by some other species (maybe indirectly, through scrolls, inscriptions or runes). After that, the lore has been carried on for generations. Some people attempt to discover new spells, always related to major generic spells they know (again, it's all hierarchical: there are some spells within the same family closer to each other than others). If you go too far, most probably you'll do nothing. Another possibility is that the spell has an unknown effect, and it's hardly ever the desired one. When intelligent beings meet, they share their magic. Some races are very apt for magic; others aren't, even if they are intelligent. Some have more affinity for one classes of magic, other for others. The world is a very big place.

On to the classification. If you haven't noticed yet, I'm using Latin names for major concepts. Here I'll give the most common name and some other common names, and the best translation.

There are two major branches for all magic in the universe: amoral magic (magia amoralis) and moral magic (magia moralis). The difference is that while amoral magic doesn't employ voluntas (will), it's the basic requirement for moral magic. Almost all healing magic is moral magic; that is not the case for damage magic.

The pragmatical and most extended classification among humanoid sapient species attends to the physical nature of the magic. The two major branches are elemental magic (magia elementalis) and soul magic (magia animae or magia animica). You can also refer to soul magic as spiritual magic, astral magic or arcane magic lato sensu; the most unambiguous way to refer to it is as non-elemental magic.

Elemental magic

The basic traits of elemental magic are the following: the aethers roam freely in the world, the physical effects are related to natural elements and it's generally amoral. It's the easiest magic to master, it can get really destructive, and it depends greatly on potestas "power" (voluntas rarely affects it, since it's generally amoral).

However, elemental magic is divided in two major groups itself: pure elemental magic (magia elementalis (pura)) or elemental magic stricto sensu and natural elemental magic (magia (elementalis) naturalis) or natural magic.

-Pure elemental magic is magic resulting from the materialization of two main classes of aether, which are opposed: igneous aether and aqueous aether. In other words, it contains fire magic and frost magic (magia ignea, ignis and magia aquosa, aqua). Frost magic is translated like that because most of the time spells have to do with frozen water, ice.

-Natural magic is magic resulting from the materialization of many types of aether, and two common clases are aereous aether and tellureous aether, which are opposed. It comprises wind magic (magia aerea, aeris), earth magic (magia tellurica, tellus) and more general natural magic. Among these types of natural magic we have magic which associates with living beings, such as plants; modifications of others (like storm magic for wind magic) and at some points this magic may become moral. This is so because, even if life and death are concepts not restricted to intelligent and moral creatures, they are usually accompanied by intent and will. We have the concepts of vita and mors here (life and death). Natural magic constitutes the only elemental school of magic which can heal, with the aid of vita.

Types of magic can mix. Some aethers have magical sign or magical charge. Fire is (+), frost is (-), earth is (+), wind is (-). Combos of the same sign can be very destructive physically; but combos of the opposite sign can have profound spiritual impacts (think of body as (+), soul as (-), and do the math). Some combos are really useful; others are rarely heard of. As usual, the details about aether behaviour escape us, we can only get some general trends. The sign thing explains why it's hard to master opposite forces, since you tend to get magically charged yourself. A fire mage gets "magically positive"; a frost mage gets "magically negative" (this may have side effects, think about libido or electromagnetic field forces).

As for wind and earth, the charge is not so marked because the spells are not so common (fire magic is a much wider area); they're usually mastered by druids or shamans who practise all type of elemental magic to a lesser extent. Some other pairs may exist within elemental magic, but the main ones are the mentioned ones.

Soul magic

The main trait of soul magic is that it's not based on any indepentently existent aether. However, this group is very heterogeneous, and it includes arcane magic, which is a really heterogeneous group itself. We can divide between moral and amoral magic:

-The amoral magic in this group is formed by arcane magic or arcanum. This groups constitutes magic itself. It includes most utility spells: transformations, enchantments, summonings, conjuring, shapeshifting, temporality, gravity, light, lore, etc. It can use practically any type of raw aether, be it whatever it is, which is why raw aether is sometimes called arcane aether. The real masters of arcane magic are mages, and are devoted to magical lore and knowledge. It's such a heterogeneous group that it's impossible to provide more general traits. It requires deep study and intelligence, and it can be very exhausting to delve into its secrets. Hence the name, arcanum, "secret". Arcane magic is amoral because its intent is knowledge of magic itself. However, some parts may be moral.

-The moral magic in this group is formed by light, white or holy magic (magia sacra, lux) and black or shadow magic (magia nigra, nox). Its main requirement is voluntas, and it affects the spell's outcome greatly. What matters is your intention: desire to harm, and you will; desire to heal, and you will. Most healing magic is holy magic. Beings with a fixed moral orientation are unable to cast the other: evil beings can't perform holy spells; good beings cannot cast shadow magic. It uses the same aether as arcane magic (raw one), but when it turns it into dynamic aether, the mind uses its moral conviction, which is why all what I said above holds true. It turns into luminous aether, light aether, for holy magic, or umbreous aether, shadowy aether, for shadow magic. Not to be confused with vita and mors: good and evil have been defined as order and chaos, not life and death.

Shadow magic is (-), holy magic is (+); because order is (+) and chaos is (-). Signs seem arbitrary but a lot of pairs in the universe have them (for example males (+) females (-)), the reasons are unknown.

As for damage, soul magic generally aims at the soul, the non-physical dimension of life (this a more relevant trend than the signs). Elemental magic tends to do a great deal of physical damage (again this trend is more relevant than the sign thing).


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:31 am 
Smeric
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Eandil wrote:
Qwynegold wrote:
It was mostly a joke, because your magic system sounds like game mechanics for some RPG. And in that case there should be food items that can replenish mana. :wink:


Yes of course. If you know World of Warcraft you'll see a lot of similarities, specially for the schools of magic I'll describe soon. But the justification for magic through aether is something I've invented on my own.

Aha, well I haven't played that game. (Yet oddly I get e-mail from them saying that they suspect I'm trying to sell "my" account. :?)

Ollock wrote:
Qwynegold wrote:
I have a magical conlang. In its daughterlangs, people use a special magic-negating word at the beginning of every sentence so that they won't accidentally cast a spell (although that happens almost never anyway).


Here's how I dealt with magical languages. Both White Magic (speaking Aeruyo) and Black Magic (speaking Malviz) follow the same basic rules.

1) First of all, using the magical language isn't communicating directly with the Universe (as many magical languages do in conworlds) but to spirits who can manipulate the world.
2) Though the spirits are compelled to react to human commands, there are things they cannot do.
3) Learning one of these languages is not enough by itself to command the spirits. White practitioners require long hours of meditation and years of mental training to "attune" themselves to the Aeruyo. Black practitioners must bind a Malviz to a dead body (or find a body already possessed) and use certain mental techniques to force their will upon the spirit.
4) In both cases, the command must be addressed to the spirits, and come in the form of a request or an imperative. Just reading from a holy book won't trigger anything.
5) Even though, given the above rules, and errant phrase isn't really likely to cause a spell to go off, most magical sects have a taboo against using Aeruyo/Malviz for everyday communication, just in case.

For alchemical glyphs, I think they will work more like a programming language, and will be complex enough that it takes years to learn. Plus, you must be attuned to one of the five elements through mental training, and customize all of your spells according to your chosen element.

Interesting. :) In my magical language, many of the words you use in spells are not ones you use in normal speech, simply because they don't really have any meaning in everyday speech. And similarly to Eandil, you often need intent to cast a spell. But people use the magic negating word anyway simply because it feels safer that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:06 pm 
Smeric
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Qwynegold wrote:
Aha, well I haven't played that game. (Yet oddly I get e-mail from them saying that they suspect I'm trying to sell "my" account. :?)

That's just phishing, actually. It's very common from WoW since it's very extended, I also got it even after my account wasn't linked to my own e-mail anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:17 pm 
Smeric
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Magic, as I see it, is the manipulation of morphic fields through the mind. Everything in the universe has a morphic field which informs the parts of it, down to the quantum fields of matter. The human soul is likewise a morphic field, and it can enter morphic resonance with another morphic field. This way, the wizard can alter probabilities. That means that unlikely but possible things can be done, but impossible things cannot be done even with magic. Because magic is about information, transmitting information magically is one of the easier feats, depending on the complexity of information and the target system. For instance, it is easy to control a mouse, as long as you don't try to make the mouse do what it would never do out of itself; it is also quite easy to plant an idea into somebody's mind, but it is very hard to control a human being.

There is actually no hard and fast line between "art" and "magic"; it is much a matter of degree - while a (mundane) artist needs tools or instruments to give his work the desired shape, a wizard does not. A spell is a magical procedure; the are no "prefabricated" spells that a wizard could learn and use whenever he sees fit, but each spell must be woven from magical elements individually according to the concrete situation and desired effect. The elements are a set of magical patterns or building blocks for spells. Each element is a separate field of knowledge, and few magicians master all elements; most specialize in the study of a small number of elements and have only basic knowledge in others.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:53 am 
Smeric
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Eandil wrote:
Qwynegold wrote:
Aha, well I haven't played that game. (Yet oddly I get e-mail from them saying that they suspect I'm trying to sell "my" account. :?)

That's just phishing, actually. It's very common from WoW since it's very extended, I also got it even after my account wasn't linked to my own e-mail anymore.

Oh, good thing I never responded to those directly. Who's doing this?

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 Post subject: Re: Theory of Magic
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:54 am 
Smeric
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WeepingElf wrote:
...

Hmm, hard to understand, but it sounds interesting.

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