Sunday, August 29, 2010

Magic: The Rules of the World, Part 2

Welcome back to the magic brainstorm. So far, we've got 16 "disciplines -- broad purviews that guide and limit a wizard (or "crafter")'s abilities. We've divided them into Order and Chaos, but the resulting lists are still rather overwhelming -- for both organization and world flavor. Let's divide them further. First, four of them -- telepathy, empathy, clairvoyance, and illusion -- are obviously mental abilities, so let's set them aside.

Chaos Order
Fire Water
Air Earth
Telekinesis ?
Healing Necromancy
? Teleportation
Animal/Plant Control ?
Shadow Control Light Control
? Magical Item Creation
Mental Mental
Empathy Telepathy
Illusions Clairvoyance

Next: The elements are fundamental forces in a fantasy setting, so let's set them aside. Any other fundamental forces? Well, telekinesis can be seen as manipulating "Force," that mythical fifth element, so let's put that in there. What else? Well, animals and plants could work, as could light and dark... but maybe they belong in a different category. The fundamentals look like they're "Shaping" the world, manipulating it in an unsubtle fashion. This other group -- healing and transformation, animal and plant control, and necromancy are more about changing the natural world, "Shifting" bodies both living and dead. So now we've got got "Shaping" and "Shifting," and the mental disciplines... "Sharing."

Chaos Order
Shaping Shaping
Fire Water
Air Earth
Telekinesis ?
Sharing Sharing
Empathy Telepathy
Illusions Clairvoyance
Shifting Shifting
Healing Necromancy
Animal/Plant Control ?
unclassified unclassified
? Teleportation
Shadow Control Light Control
? Magical Item Creation

We've got a couple awkward leftovers, but I'll bet we can find a place for them: teleportation -- that seems like more of a "shift" and manipulation of bodies, so we'll put that opposite Animal & Plant Control --the static "first here, then there" movement of teleportation opposed by the constant, chaotic movement of the wild. And making magical items -- that's infusing objects with the fundamental energies, so we can place it across from telekinesis. Manipulating shadow and light could go either in shaping (fundamental) or shifting (subtly changing the natural world), but since Shaping is already pretty full, we'll stick 'em in "Shifting." I'm not sure they fit thematically, bu this is a work in progress. Feel free to sound off in the comments!

So the disciplines are laid out. A bit more brainstorming leads to some catchy, fantasy-sounding names, working off Shaping, Sharing, and Shifting as suffixes:

Chaos Order
Shaping Shaping
Flameshaping Waveshaping
Skyshaping Worldshaping
Forceshaping Relicshaping
Sharing Sharing
Soulsharing Mindsharing
Dreamsharing Farsharing
Shifting Shifting
Bloodshifting Blightshifting
Wildshifting Realmshifting
Shadowshifting Lightshifting
Now every type of Crafter will have an individual role and identity: a Blightshifter can raise corpses, talk to spirits, and make an enemy's skin rot off; they tend to be quiet and dour, unwilling to make a close friend of someone they know will soon be dead. A Mindsharer can read thoughts, communicate silently, and force their will upon another; they tend to be great communicators, and obsessed with ordered though. A Skyshaper can summon tornadoes, rainstorms, and fly effortlessly; they tend to be flighty and quick to change both mind and mood. 

So now we have our "cuisines" complete. A quick return to the "ingredients" portion of the magic conversation results in... nothing more certain. Still uncertain if Crafters should mutter incantations or silently summon up energy. Well, perhaps some edification will come as we examine... Magic: The Rules of the Game.