In chapter 4 of City Builder we have a look at a few of the professional places to be found around town. Now the thing to remember here is that the book in question really can't cover every possibility, but we can hope that the reader is inspired to look into other such locations.
And neither can I cover everything that could be covered where magick in a fantasy setting is concerned. For I am a single individual, and real life technology is the product of numerous lives over numerous years. You can expect the same of a setting where magick works and has been brought to apply in numerous ways.
Consider just Dungeons and Dragons, with something like five editions, plus supplements, settings, and net books. Haven't counted all of the magicks available out there, but I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't something like a few thousand of them. In Mythus for Dangerous Journeys there are some 236 effects listed, and they don't all have to be limited to just one casting. For there are probably as many ways to curse as there are magicians.I wouldn't be surprised if sometime in the future there could be around 20,000 or more castings to choose from.
Now consider just what those effects could be used for, and keep in mind that magick in an adventure setting doesn't have to be restricted to just one activity. That's my point in this series, that it is not just the Wizard Tensor who gets to use his famous floating disc, but construction crews around the world.
Now consider how magick could be used in a hospital. To relieve pain, knit together bones and tissue, ease child birth, even raise the dead and regenerate limbs.
Then consider the various medications, mundane and magickal, used in a hospital setting and how they could be abused. Security is a big part of medical care, for while the black lotus say can have beneficial effects wisely used, misuse can be fatal.
And never forget how useful the magick of divination can be. It can make diagnosis much easier, and allow a doctor a more honest look at how a treatment or therapy is working.
As for an architect's office, having reliable information regarding a site and its local conditions can make the job of designing a building a lot easier. Just think about where you work and what you do for a living and soon you should be able to devise a lot of ways in which magick can make your life a lot easier.
In chapter 5 we'll have a look at a trademan's places, with an emphasis on the stable.
First, a link to the kickstarter; City Builder. With that done we can go on to a look on the magick of entertainment, that being chapter 3 in the book.
Probably the most noticeable of the magicks in a fantasy setting, the dweomers of the entertainment realm are probably the most misunderstood. Indeed, in most cases where magick is credited it is not actually used, while where not credited it really should be.
For the most part where magick is used it is used to draw the attention of the audience to what the director and performers want them to pay attention to. The goal here is to keep the viewer so busy paying attention to the one thing, so he doesn't really have the time and energy to focus on a flaw. And in large part the magick of entertainment is involved with illusion and phantasm, though not to the point the audience becomes suspicious.
For that is the purpose of magick in entertainment, to engross the audience and to keep them engrossed. To keep them so entranced by what they see and hear they haven't the time to notice the flurry of activity going on backstage.
And part of the illusion is the illusion of being somewhere else. Instead of being seated in the loge of a theater, of standing at the edge of a bluff watching as Vargaardian bison migrate from the northern plains to the southern so as to avoid the bitter cold coming with winter. Or, for that matter, instead of standing at the railing of a fence separating them from a herd of springbok, actually being on an Afrikan veldt with the animals under observation.
Then there are times when magick is used to reassure the animal in an enclosure, such as a zorilla (Afrikan skunk) kept unaware of the people watching her so that she does not become stressed and hide.
Though probably the most important use of magick in entertainment has to do with medicine. For there are times when a performer needs to be able to perform for all that he suffers from an injury that would otherwise impair him. Or an animal may need healing so he won't make the original injury worse, as may happen with an equid or certain types of small birds.
As you can see magick plays a huge role in entertainment, and quite often young dweomercræfters often gain their first employment at a zoo, theater, or circus casting. That's my esssay on the magick in entertainment, coming up on professional places.
Probably the most important person in any community is the craftsman. He may not be the most powerful, or the richest, but he is most often the source of what the rest of the community needs to function. In City Builder he is the person who makes what the others need to do their work, or even just to live their lives. And he is often the one who can best make use of what magick is available to him.
For instance you have the carpenter, who can either be in the construction of buildings or furniture.
If in construction he will most likely have magick to help him determine the soundness of the wood being used, or how best to arrange the structure so as to use the amount of material it is safest to use and how best to put it all together.
Where furniture such as chairs, sofas, and tables are concerned, what to use in the construction. In some households he may include magicks that will keep track of just who is using that chair, or let any staff know just who had a midnight snack and ate up all the leftover caviar.
Then there is the matter of the jeweler, or white smith. Magicks that will signal when a drink has been poisoned. Or which will warn the wearer when they are being approached or are approaching another. Very popular with the parents of small children are wristlets a child can wear that keeps track of them, and tell the mother or father when the youngster has gone astray.
To be honest with you I can't think of everything. About the best I can do is to provide you with examples and ask that you use your imagination and inventiveness. But just for the heck of it...
Timmy makes items from pewter. Cutlery, dishes, cups and steins. Thanks to his magick he can insure that they are well make, and that they do not leak. They are also noted for their ability to withstand falls to the floor and blows from the angry and irate.
In addition depending on what they were made to hold they can keep food or drink at a constant temperature, and for a physician client (Alice the Chirurgeon) he produces bowls and plates that sterilize wound dressings and the like.
I'm sure you can come up with more.
In the third entry in this series we'll have a look at entertainment places, with an emphasis on zoos. See you then.
Skirmisher Publishing has a project underway, and I thought I'd help them out if they'll let me. The subject is on city building, and so far they've raised enough money to publish the work in question and to expand on it to some extent. However, it is on the medieval city as a mundane entity, and so many of us have fantasy settings. What do you find in fantasies? Well, magick. So I'll be producing a series of essays on magick in a medieval city, starting with communities, chapter one in City Builder.
Depending on the size of the community the available magick could be limited. Then again, it may not. Should a thorp be the home of a wizard or magus there could be a fair amount of magick to be found. But should magick and its use be limited then even a major metropolis is not likely to have much.
It also depends on what is available in magick and what it can be used for. For the most part the typical RPG limits the use of magick to adventuring and that associated with adventuring. But your preferred system may well allow for the use of magick for daily life.
On p32 of Mythus Magick there is a list of things the magick of Ærth can handle in the area of cooking and food preparation. Under the "Bs" you have "bouquet and blend", which are concerned respectively with the aroma or air of a product (most likely a wine) or the mixing of items together in a recipe to produce a desired result. Now these are matters that could be handled by ordinary skill, but with magick you can insure that you get the result you want, and may be able to blend ingredients that don't ordinarily lend themselves to blending.
A village in your setting may have a reputation for the meals produced at a particular tavern, and all because the cook has talent in cooking magick. Or an inn in an otherwise disreputable neighborhood in a port town could be known for the cleanliness of its accommodations thanks to the dweomercræft of the chief maid.
Just keep in mind that in the typical adventure guide, Chivalry and Sorcery for instance, magick is really not going to be anything special. For when we are exposed to a wonder for any length of time we get used to it. As Bob Heinlein once said, "The most ordinary thing in the world is a 90 day wonder on the 91st day."
So keep that in mind as your lead your players through an adventure, and remember that it is not Flowers of the Mire that are the wonder, but how you present them.
I think that the word "Egypt" comes from the Classical Greek for "Black Land". The people themselves called themselves the Qm, from which we get the Hebrew "Khem", as in the "Khemites" or the people of Khem. What the Qm called themselves I don't know.
Note that "Black Land" refers to the color of the soil, a rich black or dark brown from the sediments left after the floods. The Qm themselves were a white people by and large, with the important ones given a reddish hue in their art. In Mythus Gary decided to make them a red skinned people, though of a different shade from the Atlanteans and the Vargaardians/Amazonians. Just though I'd mention it.
Of all the guides in Dangerous Journeys Mythus is most likely the one with the most, and the most advanced, magick. This has consequences. One is, Mythus is high magick (at least as far as I see), and second, through the use of magick the worlds of Ærth has learned things one may not expect them to.
For the most part the reason why comes down to divination that works. Thanks to that Ærth has learned things. A number of things, but the most important ones for our purposes have to do with agriculture. Such as the superiority of Sung agriculture, which is now used by most everyone, including the Lemurians (while they are racist pigs, they are not stupid). And divinations directed at discovering good times to plant, and to reap, and the best way to transport crops to market. Learning the best crops to grow is a big part of this.
And this has one huge consequence, it only takes a quarter of the land that would other wise be needed to support a population.
In part 2 of this series we'll have a look at how this affects just exactly how much territory a population of 500 million requires.
Recently I was introduced to a new RPG, Quest, through Dave Newton, co author of Mythus. Quest is supposed to be for children, though I suspect it has elements adolescents and adults could find useful. I was also introduced to a neologism by dave, "hekatek", which is his word for what others call "magitech", or technology that uses magick.
Using the Word
It would seem that Dave has decided to use "heka" as the Egyptian for "magick". As it turns out, he is not alone. According to this search page others use "heka" as the Egyptian for magick. The word itself is also the name of an Egyptian god, Heka, said to be the god of magick. He was also associated with such as Hu (the word) and Sia (perception). For it seems that in Egypt magick was associated with how one perceived, and in how one applied the authority of the word.
Under "hekau" (another search page) it is understood to mean "words of power". It is also part of the name of another Egyptian deity, this one the goddess Werethekau (also Weret Hekau and Urtkehau). Her name is translated as either "great one of magick" or "great enchantress. You'll note that the ancient Egyptians were big on authority and authorities, for the latter were seen as important in life and necessary to insure a good one.
In Dangerous Journeys Heka is seen as the force which powers magick. It is most often compared to the electromagnetic force, though in the case of Heka it is a force which can be manipulated through will to produce concrete results. Heka is said to be derived from "Hekau", or "words of power". At least according to Gary Gygax, designer of the DJ system.
A Note on Magic in RPGs
At this time we will have a look at how other fantasy RPGs handle magic (as they spell it). In adventure guides such as Ars Magica and Runequest, where magic is seen as an effective way of manipulating reality. As opposed to our existence where it really doesn't. In so much as the Dangerous Journeys system overall has working magick (to use Gary's spelling), it is therefor much like other fantasy systems where magick is concerned.
On the Soul
It can also be seen as a Spiritual matter, in that it seems to involve the spirit, or soul. With the Spiritual Trait having two Categories, Metaphysical (understanding)and Psychic (connection), we can see that magick in DJ involves how one understands and in how connected one is with reality. Coupled with the ability to manipulate Heka to produce the desired resulted the better one is in a Trait the better one can use magick on a day to day basis.
The Mental and Physical Traits
Note that the other two Traits, Mental and Physical, also come into play, in as much as the mind and body play a role in how well one can use magick. One's ability to learn and reason, and in one's physique, also have an impact on how good one is with magick. In the case of the Physical Trait think of it as being a matter of how strong one is, and in how healthy and agile.
For our purposes I'm going to describe magick as being the ability to produce a concrete result through desire or will, without the use of any physical agency. Speech in this case is as much a tool as any screwdriver or hammer.
Psychogenic Powers and Castings
There are two ways in which magick can be used by those with the ability.
A psychogenic power (also known as a psychic power, but Gary wanted each concept to have it's own specific term) is an ability to manipulated matters through heka that is set. That is, through the power in question one may produce results such as a breeze, or mind to mind communication. But while you can get better and more effective at it, you can't change how you use heka. That is set and you may not alter it. In other words, you are born with certain talents and you can't change them.
With castings you can use heka to produce a variety of results. Of course, each casting you learn will have it's own result, but you can learn other castings unless a restriction is placed upon the learning and use thereof. How you learn and use castings also depends on the milieu in question. In a module such as Mythus casting use is fairly open and flexible. In such as Abyss castings are extremely rigid, with the talent being restricted to a very few and applied through ritual instead of any other means of casting. In Unhallowed for instance all castings must be improvised and will not work when formalized. In short you have to ad lib what you want the casting to do.
You'll note that the above follows the thinking of the late P.E.I. "Isaac" Bonewitz, who saw magick as being a type of psychic ability. Though that seems to be as far as it goes.
At least where castings are concerned it would appear that certain laws of magick apply. In magick there are 7 laws, these and their ordinances are.
Sympathy: That which is favorable to the subject. The ordinances are...
Similarity: That which are alike.
Contagion: Once in touch always in touch.
Evocation: That which brings to mind.
Antipathy: That which is unfavorable to the subject. Here the ordinances are...
Dissimilarity: That which are different.
Opposition: That which are opposed.
Repulsion: That which repels the other.
Change: An alteration to the subject.
Ritual: The matter of procedure.
Emanation: The source of heka.
Conduction: How heka travels from place to place.
Obstruction: How heka is blocked.
Note that the laws in question really have nothing to do with the subject of the casting. Instead they have their impact on the caster, for it is he who needs to keep in mind whether he is doing anything sympathetic or antipathetic to the subject, or if it involves change or the flow of energy in the form of heka. Procedure (ritual) is of course important, for in magick getting it right is important. You need to know what you are doing and to be correct in how you do it. You get right down to it, magick is a conservative art and you need to understand what you are doing and to be right in how you do it.
And that is how I see matters, at least where magick in Dangerous Journeys is concerned. Oh, and then you have the matter of the Canons of Faith, which would appear to be associated with the Nine Grades of casting and what they are most concerned with. But that's the subject for a later posting.