You do need to focus on things. I say this as an autistic who finds wandering off and losing focus is just a way to pile on yet more stress. I don’t need that, you don’t need that, and you certainly don’t need some clod bearing down your ass and making you even more stressed out.
So I’m going to write up more Vocations in Mythus, and I’m going to chill and take a relaxed attitude towards doing it. Next up will be a write up of the Merchant in Mythus, because merchants have been a part of adventures since Sinbad the Sailor and Marco Polo—as far as I know, and likely have been having adventures back in Pliestocene times.
Yes, I did change things. First of all, while the Shaman began as a primitive vocation, as news of them began to spread around there were many in civilized lands who decided to take up the career. In terms of the mechanics, I decided to rearrange the K/S Areas and reassign what they were worth. I also created the K/S Aea of Spirits for those with the knowledge of spirits, which I think Mythus really needs.
For all purposes you can think of the Shaman as an ambassador to the spirit realms. In a sense you can think of them as a go between, keeping communications open between the mundane and the supernatural.
They are not in any real sense dedicated to the dark, though they do have relations with such.They are more a people of the shadows, and less creatures of some extreme. In fact the shaman is more apt to follow the ethoi of Moonlight and Shadowy Darkness, then the ethos of Balance, and then the ethoi of Sunlight and Gloomy Darkness. It should also be noted that while the typical shaman will take up service with a particular god, it is understood by god and shaman that the latter will have occasion to perform a chore or task for another deity.
To make this clear, this is how I see the shaman and his role in Mythus. He is an advisor, a go between, an intercessor. It is not his part to promote anybody’s goal, or to keep any particular party under control or in restraint. For the most part the shaman works on behalf of his people; band, clan, or village. And he does what he thinks to keep them safe, for there are dangers out in the worlds beyond our own.
To be honest with you, I need to get something written down so when I forget what I’ve said—being absent minded and all—I can look it up and re-read it.
In short a vocation is what a person is dedicated to doing. At least what he really wants to do in his life.
Priest is most often the vocation we think of when we hear the world vocation, but there are others. You have doctor and lawyer, police officer and bus driver. It really doesn’t matter just how long you have a vocation, as long as it’s something you’re really dedicated to doing.
In addition we tend to see vocations as having something of the romantic about them. Just something that leads up to say that there’s something neat about the profession, and something cool about the person pursuing it. There’s just something about being a writer that makes them desirable as a romantic partner, as witness the typical writer’s or fan convention. We love contact with the important,, and that contact can get intimate indeed.
Vocations as Vocations
So in reality a vocation is a career you really want to pursue, for as long as you can at least.
Our reaction to anyone with a vocation is predicated in large part on how we see the vocation, and those who follow it. It isn’t just firemen we find romantic, it’s doctors and bakers and anybody else with a calling we admire. Anyone with a purpose we can admire, and which we wish we could follow if we were only good enough.
That’s pretty much what you have in Mythus, people pursuing goals that give them a purpose in life. People taking on a role that has a meaning to it, a role that matters.
The Vocation in Mythus is not an attempt to come up with a term to replace Class. No, a Vocation is something entirely different. A Class is something your Character is. A Vocation is something your Persona follows. Both are types of roles you’ve dcided to follow, but with a Vocation it is a role you don’t have to follow to th exclusion of all else.
Want to recreate the D&D Paladin? Give your HP Priestcræft, Religion, and Apostropaism and maybe a few others to simulate what the traditional Paladin gets. And don’t forget the code. Codes are vital.
As you can see Vocations in Mythus are flexible. Want your Priest to be a master swordsman? Be my guest. Want your Alchemist to moonlight as an Actor? Go right ahead. For Mythus is not just a game you play where the roles are limited. No, Mythus is a guide to playing a role in a fantasy world; and as in the real world there is much more to life than just a limited role. As her mom told Sally in the musical Tommy, “You’re part is to be what you’ll be.”
Starting with part two of this series we’ll be taking a look at the Vocations in Mythus, and at the moment I’m thinking about starting with the Shaman. Why? Because I can. Things go well I’ll post that soon.
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I’ve decided to present this idea. That math we keep using, I don’t think it means what we think it means.
We make assumptions about our world. One of them is that the assumptions we make about our world are right. I don’t think so.
It comes back to this, we can’t know everything, we’re not that smart. Mentally we’re limited, and it looks like we’re going to be limited for a rather long time. We don’t know everything, and we can’t know everything. About the only thing we can know for certainty is that we can’t know for certainty. And another thing we can do is to test our assumptions using the tools we have available, keeping in mind that we are most likely wrong. Hell, you get right down to it, we’re wrong anyway.
As an Example
Isaac Newton first came up with his thinking about gravity sometime before 1685. As part of his thinking he concluded that gravity is a universal force, thinking his contemporaries and successors basically adopted. Now the force is pretty much universal, as far as I can see, but that doesn’t mean it’s universal in the way we’ve come to think it is.
Yes, gravity is pretty much a universal force, but does that mean that all gravity fields extend indefinitely? Is the gravity of a single mass infinite? What if it’s not?
Keep in mind that in Newton’s day the known universe wasn’t really all that big. It essentially amounted to our galaxy and that was about it. All the stuff outside our galaxy we learned about later. When Isaac said that gravity was universal, he was talking about our Milky Way.
Add to this the idea that things can be infinite in our reality. Can they? What if things are finite, that they come to an end? That they can end? I submit good people that our math is not a good description for our existence when we take it too far. That in our reality infinity is a good theory, but stinks as reality.
The Problem With Spacetime
You get right down to it, it takes work—effort that is—to bend spacetime. The more you need to bend spacetime the more work you need. The mechanism behind gravity can only provide enough force to bend ST slightly, the other three more so. In addition, it takes a certain minimum amount of effort to cause spacetime to curve. Less than that and it won’t. And it may just be that the energy needed to curve spacetime is in discrete steps. So that the curvature is not a smooth curve, but more a series of steps at such a small scale that it appears to be a smooth cursve as far as we can tell. So you could say that spacetime doesn’t so much curve as it kinks.
What I’m proposing is, all four forces have a maximum range of effect. This includes gravity. It may be that Earth’s gravity doesn’t even make it as far out as Pluto, and Pluto’s gravity may not even reach Jupiter. We only think that everything in our Solar System is tied together by gravity, but in reality it may not. We just assume that it does because we’ve gotten this idea in our head that infinity can exist in reality and not just in theory.
Which leads me to more thinking, but I first need to do some thinking on that. I’ll write more on this topic in another post.
A new study finds that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, only covers 43-60 percent of what it costs to consume a diet consistent with federal dietary guidelines for what constitutes a healthy diet. The study highlights the challenges lower-income households face in trying to eat a healthy diet.
What you’re seeing in the article linked to above is an example of a damaging assumption. The assumption being that those receiving benefits are capable to doing what they need to in order to handle a problem. You get right down to it, certain parties are bigoted fools with no understanding of those who have problems. We’re talking about fools.
Prejudiced fools. Fools convinced that people like me a liars and frauds. Fools with no understanding of disabilities and personal limitations. Fools convinced that those worse off than they are deserve what they get.
Our reality is one thing, matters don’t have to be the same in a different existence.
The deal is there can be other realities besides our own. At least in our imaginations. In addition, they can be as real as ours, in our imaginations — my emphasis. This means that whatever we imagine can be as real as we need it to be in our imaginations. Which means things can work as you need them to in your imaginary world.
What it comes down to is, in a fantasy world as in Ars Magica and Mythus something like magick can and does work. In either case we’re not talking about our existence, but rather about worlds which work differently to some degrees than ours’ does. In either case something we could call magick works. Something that produces actually results and not just something we need to lie about in a vain attempt to fool ourselves.
The Thing Is
While both have magick they don’t both handle it the same way. In part this is due to their respective mechanics, but it is also due to just how developed the science has become in their respective worlds.
That’s right, I said science. Science is about understanding, in any world where a thing can work it can be understood. At least we can pretend that we understand it, and when you get right down to it we don’t really understand what’s going on in our reality, we just like to think we do. So on Ærth and Mythic Earth magick works, so we can invent reasons as to why it does. Do they work? Well enough for academic purposes.
The difference between the two lies in how old the science is in the respective settings. In Mythic Earth it got its start sometime in the 8th century AD. It’s really only been a science for about 4 centuries, so it really hasn’t had much to be developed as a science.
On Ærth magick has been a science — at least treated as a science — for a few thousand years. That means they’ve gotten more work done.
One of the biggest differences lies in their respective cosmologies. On Ærth it’s much busier; you have the mundane, the supernatural, and the entital. Each of these is further subdivided. On Mythic Earth is not so well developed.
Where magick itself is concerned on Ærth a caster can call upon other planes. On Mythic Earth the only plane available to a caster is the mundane. Only those with a connection with the Divine can access any of the outer planes, and that gives them a substantial advantage. You get right down to it, as powerful as a Mythic Europe Magus can be, he’s still very much a babe just starting to toddle about on wobbly pins.
It all comes down to just what each party has learned about their respective existences. In ArM they really haven’t learned all that much. Their model of reality is still undeveloped. In Mythus it’s quite a bit better developed, largely because they’ve had the time. Or, it could be that the model in Ars Magica is more limited because it is, and their understanding is actually more accurate than that of the mages in Mythus.
Though if the scientists—which is what they are—of either world follow the pattern of progress our scientists follow, those of Mythic Earth will find ways to complicate their understanding of things, while those of Ærth will find reasons to simplify since their understanding has gotten just a tad too complex as far as I’m concerned.
When you get right down to it, how the respective guides handle magick depends a lot on how we handle such things in our reality. We like to undertand. Or at least to think we understand. And we insist on claiming we understand when we really don’t. Not to anything like we think we do. And since ArM and Mythus are really dealing with different worlds, how reality actually works in the two need not be exactly the same.
In the Future
That depends. The magick of Mythic Earth may become more like that of Ærth, or it may become something quite different. That depends on how the people behind Ars Magica decide to take it, and that is entirely their choice. Though it would be interesting to see the magick in the one RPG take a sort of convergent development with the magik in the other.
Though I do have to ask a question: How do you see your favorite fantasy RPG handling magick?
I did a dumb thing, I forgot to take my meds. So right now I’m a bit discouraged. Starting tomorrow I’ll be back on my medication, which should improve my mood. Though it looks like it’ll be Oct. before I can get an Internet connection of my own.
The next time somebody tells you that autism is a wonderful thing ask him how Donald Trump is working out as President.
As far as I can see what magic is depends on what a person wants it to be. But for our purposes we do need to set a description we all can accept for the moment. So for my purpose I’m going to say that magic involves the manual manipulation of any object as to amaze and surprise an audience. What we could call stage magic.
That’s the definition Aleistar Crowley used for stage magic, choosing to spell the word magick when referring to what he called real magick. Later Wilf Backhaus of Chivalry and Sorcery made his spelling Magik, a decision adopted by his companion Edward Simbalist. Later yet Gary Gygax adopted Crowly’s spelling, saying that real magick and stage magic are two different things.
You know what, he’s right. Magic is about fooling people in order to entertain them. Magick in turn is about manipulating reality using a tool that can’t exist in our reality.
That’s what I said, it can’t exist. Not in our reality. There are somethings that are possible, and others that aren’t. Put to the test magick, as Crowley and Gygax spelled it, just doesn’t work. It can’t work, the tools just aren’t there.
The Thing Is
When something actually works, and we can demonstrate that it does work, we learn why. At the very least we come up with a reasonable explanation for it that does not involve any alternate explanation—my emphasis. That we believed in magick back in the day—or even today—has nothing to do with the matter, believe all you want, that lead weight just aint gonna float off into outer space.
And the Magical?
Oh, that exists, but in our reality it refers to things that we find magical, and what we find magical is very much a matter of perception and how we handle our perceptions.
Before the age of 10 we use a part of the brain other than the prefrontal cortex for thinking. Thus our thinking is irrational and emotional. When we turn 10 the first layers of the prefrontal comes on line and our thinking becomes more and more rational. This continues until we reach the age of 25, when the prefrontal cortex takes over the job of cognition entirely, but until then we really can’t understand completely.
We miss things, we misunderstand. We can be, and often are, overwhelmed by events. Much more often than we would be later in life. When asked what the golden age of science fiction was author Harlan Ellison replied, “12.” When things happen too fast we can be dazzled, and for the 10 year old everything is happening too fast.
In our reality that’s what magic is about, being dazzled. Being overwhelmed by our perceptions,of what we see, hear, smell, and feel. And it can happen even at quiet moments.
Being autistic I can be overwhelmed by being out in public. Things get to be too much and I can’t handle it. You could come across a lake in the forest and be overwhelmed. When I was 10 I got stopped when I realized just how being in a stand of trees then standing outside the Mount Palomar Observatory affected me. It’s what Mr. Spock of Star Trek called, “Fascinating.”
Think of terms such as “sleepy blue ocean” or “a night in the forest.” Think of your reaction to a song you first head with a person you were infatuated with when you heard it for the first time. That is what I’m talking about when I use the word “magical”. That is most often what we’re talking about when we use the word, “magic”.
Just Too Much
That’s what magic is about in reality, being simply just too much. Its anything that’s too much to handle. It happens more often when we’re young, but it can still happen even when we are truly old. Everything is magic when you’re five, and even when you’re twelve it is still very magical. Even when you’re 95 a moment can still be magic, under the right conditions—seeing a new born for example.
Magic is very much an emotional response to an event or occurance, but emotional responses are not what you’d call a reliable response.But what about in a fantasy? Can an event in a fantasy world be magical? Can magic as we understand it exist in a fantasy world?
My take is,yes. But that can wait until the next post.
It comes down to this,when we know we’re safer. At least we feel safer. We’re more confident in what we do, more capable. When we know we’re more able to handle things, to know what to do and how to adjust to anything unexpected.
Knowing and the confidence it brings makes us safer. Or at least to feel safer.
You get right down to it science is a way to learn. It is a technique for learning. There are sciences, but they are not science.
Science is not a matter of what is, it is a matter of how you learn what is. It is very much a matter of how you learn and how you approach what you learn. And the first thing you need to learn is that you are wrong.
In a word we are imperfect. Even worse, we can’t ever be perfect. Our world is imperfect, the books we have to use is imperfect. For one thing, we just don’t have the capacity to know and understand everything. For this reason we can never know everything.
Once thing we can do is to correct out mistakes when we become aware of them, and the first step in that is to accept that we have erred. An ECG taken at 8:45 am a week ago is not an accurate picture of the heart’s condition at the present time. At best it could be an indication of the current condition. At worst it could be a damn lie. Sometimes you need to drive the car for about 15 minutes before the engine conks out.
Science is a way to learn. Science first of all involves being able to accept that you are wrong, and that what you do know is based on assumptions. Assumptions on how things work and on why they’re supposed to work.
Science is about alternative explanations. Explanations that could be right. Explanations that could be wrong. Explanations that could be wrong and still be a lead to what is right.
In the time of Aristotle gravity was understood to be a matter of an object’s nature. That being to fall to the ground when things were right.
This thinking came in large part from Ancient Greek animism, the belief that everything has a spirit. Spirits have a nature, and apparently part of that nature is to fall down when given the opportunity.
With Newton out understanding had improved to some extent. Newton for example did not accept the idea that things had a spirit that had a nature. To his way of thinking there had to be a force that made things fall to the ground when nothing stopped them from doing so.
A force with a mechanism all it’s own, and as our knowledge of our world grew we came to see how we thought the mechanism worked.
We discovered atoms, then later sub-atomic particles. Some of these particles we came to see as the medium that carried the force in question. With gravity we call that particle the graviton.
To Albert Einstein’s thinking gravity was not so much a matter of force, much less nature, but more a matter of topography. Of how space is shaped.
One attribute of mass we now understand matters is that it bends space, as space is bent so is the path of any object traveling through that space the mass bends. And this alteration in course is, as far as we know, in the direction of the mass causing the detour.
Now you would think that Einstein’s view of gravity would replace Newton’s, but we for the most part prefer to keep what we like of Newtonian gravity and combine it with Einstein’s version. As far as I can see the two contradict each other, Either Newton was right, or Einstein is right, and from what I see Einstein is right.
At this point I’m taking a break so I can work on the next post in the series. I can give you a look at the starting assumption, at that is that the magick of fantasy worlds can be a science, because science can be applied to it. How? That I will explain later.
Now this is a sort of follow up to this blog carnival over in Kobold Press. Thing is, I didn’t think of this post until last Friday when I had a look at ArM5th and compared how that RPG handled magick as compared to how Mythus handles it.
Now the first post in this series deals with how I’ve decided to handle the subject of metaphysics. In short, the physics of physics, being a look at why reality works the way it does. In our reality a thing such as magick can’t exist because the starting conditions don’t exist. It’s just not how it’s set up here. But in realities as laid at in Mythus and ArM things are different. In addition how matters are handled, explained if you wish, depends in large part on the world in question and their respective experiences with magick. And that depends in large part on their respective experiences with magick.
In Ars Magica their understanding of magick is young, and depends to a good extent on how they understand their world. It relies in good part on their metaphysics. In Mythus the understanding of magick is much older by thousands of years, and so is more greatly developed. To put it another way, there the metaphysics are more developed then they are in Ars Magica.
Another factor to consider is that in ArM how people understand things is drawn in large part from previous experience and how that was interpreted. As far as the magi of Mythic Europe are concerned magick works the way it does because that this how they see it working, how they understand it working.
On Ærth the Mages have had a longer time to make observations, and so more time to prove and disprove their ideas. You could say that on the Mythic Earth they really haven’t had the time to do a good study of magick, much less make a meta-analysis of the subject. For that’s the thing about studies, in the first you learn a fact, in the second you learn the fact was wrong, and in the meta-analysis you learn that the fact was right, but not for the reason you thought it was.
Now as I understand the system in ArM you have a subject and you apply an action to it. What we call a noun and verb system. And it’s a simple system, with just 10 subjects and 5 actions. In Mythus its more like a thousand subjects, and I don’t know how many actions—though I suspect it’s more than ten. For that’s the thing about fields of study, the older they get the more gunk they accumulate. Take a look at the science of physics in our world for an example of this.
What it comes down to is this, in Ars Magica magick is a young science, in Mythus it is much older—on Ærth they’ve had a lot longer to pile up stuff in the attic.Give the Magi of Mythic Europe a thousand years or so and their attics are going to get cluttered.
But did I just call magick a science?
That I did, because since it can be understood and explained in either guide as far as I can see it qualifies as a science. For a science is a rational field of study, and so long as magick is understood and explained rationally as far as I can see it is a science.
With one other necessary qualification, it has to produce results that can’t be attributed to any other mechanism.
Which makes it necessary to describe what magick is. For me it comes down to this, magick is the ability to shape reality using a tool not available through any other means. In other words, nothing physical as we understand physical. And that leads us to the next post in this series.
(It does take time and thought to come up with this stuff, so I think it’s worth a sawbuck or two. You agree you can send a donation or contribution my way.