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.)