Anyone wanting to help with this?

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Damren
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Martians, Atlantis, the Court of Stars & Ben Franklin

Post by Damren » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:45 pm

Not even Martian legacy crypts that are leaking methane deposits into the atmosphere, which survey probes have detected? With the possibility that it was once inhabited and fell before an onslaught of aberrations, which effectively ended their civilization and destroyed their world?

And then, those creatures seeded the two other worlds in the solar system that could harbor life - all but destroying it on one, and turning the other into a cauldron fit only for the vilest of life forms? The entombed Martians, being corrupted for the most part, may yet awaken if they find uncorrupted life to feed on. And, perhaps, one or two of the vaults remain pure, bearing the potential to recreate their world?

Or, would you rather we not go to Mars at all quite yet? Personally, with magic & spaceships, I think we would have been there by now, but I get that it may not fit the paradigm. We can always file this away for later.

I was considering Atlantis as the contemporary name of the last city of the first age, when gods walked the Earth, and man dabbled too freely with forces he didn't understand. So utterly destroyed that it barely survived as legend, the other cities of the age were all but completely lost - leaving only the barest echo in the creation myths of the second age of man. So, essentially, Atlantis gives us the lure of ancient knowledge and lost power ... not fish people. These would be the dungeons and ruins that modern day wizards seek to explore. A Pandora's Box of sorts ... just waiting to be opened ... not unlike Eris' crypt.

Do you like the concept behind the Court of Stars? One High Mage for each State in the Union? I envision it's creation by no less than Benjamin Franklin himself - he was always doing that kind of thing - who was one of its first members. An achievement of rare distinction, as he was not a 'blooded' Magi, but a hedge wizard of uncommon skill, as evidenced by his creation of the Lightning Key, a now missing relic that ensured his acceptance into the ranks of the Court. Also, since you’re adding a bit of Cthulhu, I figured the stars on the flag might have more significance – as well as the use of the star in law enforcement … and thus, the Court of Stars. If memory serves, the Elder Sign was a means of defense against them, yes?

Few people realize that the modern post office was an evolution of his use of Finch Dragons, so named due to their appetite for the birds, as letter couriers during the Revolutionary War. The sly, easily trained creatures are devilishly quick and incredibly reliable - even responding to training whistles that only they and most dogs can hear. Sadly, the small beasts have not survived well into the modern age and are considered endangered.

He is thought to have uncovered Washington's secret life as a mage, due to the reaction of the Lightning Key on entering Mount Vernon, and the unique perspective his ever-present spectacles gave him on everything he saw. The Smithsonian write-up on the now famous eye-wear states they were the first true implement of True Sight in the modern age, and were apparently created by Franklin himself, further proof that he may have been truly unique among men and magic. He kept Washington's secret to his grave, of course, as anyone would expect of such a statesman, hero, and friend.

Whew ... from Martians to Ben Franklin, all in one shot ... that's just ... odd.
Last edited by Damren on Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Neo-Paladin » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:52 pm

Love it...also, the Martian idea you put forth is actually quite cool :) Nice Mumm-Ra feel ;)

With the stars...hrm...the European Union has stars as well...people might wonder why...

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Gazman » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:15 pm

Also having flags with stars: China and the Soviet Union. Maybe when a nation reaches some level of metaphysical significance they need the protection of the stars against the attentions of the Great Old Ones.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Damren » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:23 pm

The British flag doesn't have any stars ... maybe that explains some of their supernatural problems?

:arrow: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-pointed_star has a page with a number of flags that have stars on them, as well as a few other bits.

:arrow: Also, the Washington Coat of Arms is shown here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_ar ... Washington ... guess what it has in it?

:arrow: Wikipedia also mentions this: "The origin of the stars and stripes design is inadequately documented. The apocryphal story credits Betsy Ross for sewing the first flag from a pencil sketch handed to her by George Washington. No evidence for this exists; indeed, nearly a century had passed before Ross' grandson, William Canby, first publicly suggested it." near the middle of this page under The Flag Resolution of 1777: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stars_and_Stripes_flag.

:?: So, I get the impression this isn't a superhero-style game? Just checking as that can temper a few of the wilder ideas (kind of weird, considering the whole Mars-thing doesn't seem to qualify), which is fine. It's good to know where the lines are when I color.

:?: Time Traveler? Are you up for a little H.G. as in Wells? Ever watch any Brisco County Jr.?

The weird(er) thing about this is, most of the work is sort of done. As you want to stay close to contemporary history, and have fixed things in modern times, the framework is basically set.

Once you add how you want things to work, like magic, Martians, etc. There's not a whole lot left that I can think of (feel free to chime in here ... any time :wink: ) that wouldn't just involve looking something up on-line and tweaking it with a little magic?

:?: Does magic work with plastic and artificial ingredients? :wink:
:?: Can we go any farther scientifically than what we see in the news? :twisted:

Personally, I'm starting to get a good 'vibe' for the realm. In a way, playing modern is kind of cool as the Web gives you access to so much material ... maps ... news headlines ... NPCs character-types ... just endless ... especially with Google Translate for all the international sites.

:arrow: I could keep asking wonky questions - or, I guess I could narrow the lens a bit - to a specific region or city, but how much data are you really wanting? (And, how much credit do I get if you publish? :wink: )

:idea: Should we take a crack at an introductory adventure of sorts? Sometimes that helps to envision things a little better. Any thoughts?

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Neo-Paladin » Mon Mar 19, 2012 3:06 am

Scientifically, we are about as far as we are today. However, magic helps in overcoming problems science can't yet. And yes, magic works with artificial materials as well.

No superhero game. If i run a game in the universe, it could well be a spec ops thing (imagine Clive Barker's Jericho as inspiration). However, i want a decent world/framework before going into any adventure building.

Feel free to ask for more details on specific places and the like, that always works well...

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The Arcanometer

Post by Damren » Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:03 pm

The Arcanometer

A device of aged design. There were many more these days, of course, but the older ones always seemed to work best. Get something designed, say, shortly after the war, and you've got a prize on your hands. Those models, however, went for thousands, while some of the less reliable new ones were only hundreds.

A simple device really, but indespensible to treasure hunters and Magi who are interested in conserving spell energy and saving time. Two dials and three crystals. The usual crystals would be sensitve to dangerous magical auras, each reacting in a different way and triggering motion in the dials. The dials would then give you a power level of the magic and an approximate distance up to about a thousand feet (no metric on the classics). Should the dials ever peg ... it's best to just run.

One could obtain different crystals, but they were expensive. They could be useful, however, if you were looking for specific magics or even living things. Rumor has it there are a few sets of dragon crystals out there somewhere. But, of course, the more specific the goal, the more expensive the crystals.

Extra crystals were usually stored in a hollow dongle of pewter or silver, attached to the chain lanyard. It's best to keep them seperate and protected, as exposure to potent magics can cause them to shatter. Even the bearers spells can cause a reaction, which is why the Arcanometer closes up like a pocket watch - to shield the crystals from magical fields.

Court agents are given special sets of crystals, designed to hone in on aberations and the spacial rifts that share their energy. They also allowed the agents to rate the level of the threat via the power dial. No time to waste with detection spells and divinations. When it comes to hunting monsters, you only use the best.

In some regions the Arcanometer is locally known as a dowser.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Neo-Paladin » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:00 pm

What fuels magic?

Magic always has a prize. The more you want to do, the more you will have to pay. In general, a sorcerer can use "mana" - or, as scientists theorize, dark energy drawn from around themselves. However, the living human body can only store so much dark energy before it begins to deteriorate. This also explains the bloodlust of vampires or the eternal hunger of zombies and ghouls, for example - the undead state works as a continuous enchantment that needs to be periodically recharged. Vampirism is the most effective one of these, allowing for greater distillation and storage of dark energy from blood, allowing for later reuse to fuel minor magical abilities.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Damren » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:56 pm

Neo-Paladin wrote:What fuels magic? Magic always has a prize. The more you want to do, the more you will have to pay. In general, a sorcerer can use "mana" - or, as scientists theorize, dark energy drawn from around themselves. However, the living human body can only store so much dark energy before it begins to deteriorate. This also explains the bloodlust of vampires or the eternal hunger of zombies and ghouls, for example - the undead state works as a continuous enchantment that needs to be periodically recharged. Vampirism is the most effective one of these, allowing for greater distillation and storage of dark energy from blood, allowing for later reuse to fuel minor magical abilities.
:?: So, are psychic powers 'magic' or 'science'?

I was going to pitch the idea that Vampires, and similar creatures, were actually humans (alive or dead) who had been attacked by aberrants, and were slowly becoming one. All are similar, in that they need to feed to counter the transformation, but each are transforming in a different, often chaotic way. Essentially, giving rise to the legends that vampires are 'demons' of the night, because that is essentially what they will become should they fail to feed. The hunger isn't truly theirs; it belongs to the aberration growing within them (afterall, where does all the blood go anyway? It's not like I've ever seen one use the 'little vampire's' room.).

Zombies are essentially corpses that have been seeded with the essence of aberration by the lesser minions of the dark ones. Rarely, one may become a true minions of those dark forces, serving their will directly. These are the most formidable of the Zombie undead, gifted with dark intellects and the ever burning need to serve their masters chaotic plans. These upper echelon zombies go by many names in many cultures: Mummy, Zombie Lord, Revenant, Bog Man, Incubus, even the Nasferatu (intentionally misspelled), who many believe to be vampires, are actually zombies of formidable power - but, each has been redefined and classified by the cultures that knew them of old.

Lesser Zombies are those either animated with Manna, or those who have been risen by the Zombie Lords or Vampires who impart a portion of their black icor to them, thus transferring the essence of their aberration to the corpse (sort of 2nd generation zombies of lesser will and power). The former, enchanted corpses, typically obey the will of the caster who 'woke' them. The latter, aberrant zombies are bound to the essence of those who shared their dark souls with them. Each tends to obey the commands of their masters loyally and with all ability.

Ghouls are living beings that have been touched by those same dark forces. The 'contagion' may reach them through many paths, a strange animal bite, fetid meat, or a simple scratch from a wandering stranger. Occasionally, you get a 'survivor' of a ghoul attack who succumbs to the transformation. They remain 'alive' only because they feed the dark hole burning inside them, and it hungers, of course, for flesh like that of its host. While ghouls can be cured, the cure must come early - typically before the victim even realizes what's going on. Ghouls, in the long run, can never quite keep up with their hunger. They tend to infect others, even when the do not wish to, and eventually go mad, attacking any living person they see. If left to starve, they degenerate into a mass of blackened bitumen-like substance.

:?: So, would ectoplasm be an expression of manna, clear or white'ish, gradually fading away as it returns to the Aether? And, would necroplasm be an expression of aberration, a blackish, tar-like substance that is typically the enduring remains of corrupted spirits and vanquished undead?

Vampires are another level of darkness. They are the living corrupted. They are believed by some to have been created by the high minions of the dark ones, or the dark ones themselves. Others see them as a route the darkness takes through the impure hearts of man, kindled by the infection of others like them. A theory also exists that different Offspring of the darkness create different forms of undead, as their power twists reality, forging aberrations of any 'blessed' by their presence.

Whatever their true origin, Vampires possess significant will and freedom, but still need to feed. Many exist in peace with man, until hunger or madness takes them. These undead are still being consumed by the corruption of the darkness, slowly becoming aberrations when they fail to feed. And when they feed, they can live forever - a vicious lure to any right thinking soul. Most embrace their new, dark nature, some do not.

Only the purest of hearts can be saved from vampirism, and then - so far - only through magical means. True, lasting cures, however, are exceedingly rare.

Not all undead are created via aberration. Some are caused through intentional magic, by Magi of lesser character, and others are caused by Divagation, the miscasting of spells that were intended for good, but become something else. Rarely, a healing spell meant to save a life will strike at the moment of death. Whether by fate or chance, some of these people are cured, some die, and others ... simply waken. Lacking the well of darkness within them, the live, either as mindless automatons or as curious, sentient undead, soulless - yet filled with the light of magic.

I thought this would pull the whole Cuthulhu'esque side in and make in more intrinsic, as well as threatening, to this world. Frequently, undead have few true origins as broad types of creatures - it's usually just 'magic' or a 'curse' of some sort. I thought this would give this universe a decent 'mechanic' for many of them, explaining the consistency of abilities across most cultures, as well as play up the need for things like Court Sheriffs and Hunters. It also allows that the advanced magical sciences have traced their origins, for the most part.

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More annoying Questions ...

Post by Damren » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:04 pm

:?: Faeries, Sprites, Pixies, etc.? In this world, or the one next door?

:?: Native American's? Still around? Used their own manna to leave their lands behind for better worlds?

:?: Tesla the scientist? Edison the hedge wizard?

:?: Do we recycle?

:?: Are TV, video games, movies, magazines and paparazzi still around? Paris Hilton? Or, would there be different kinds of celebrities and pastimes in this world?

:?: Are there different schools and colleges for Magi, or is the curriculum integrated?

:?: Is magic everywhere? Or, just enough to be noticed as a real thing?

:?: Are there digital spell books? "sPads, mPads?"

That's kind of why I asked the "artificial ingredients" question. If anyone can pull out an Incantrix Card and perform a magical act, I think it goes against the tone that we've set thus far. Magic should have a few speed bumps that make it distinctive. An Arcane Gun needs to be forged of natural metals that are shaped through arcane processes, and will tend to look different, or older, than a modern fire arm - maybe with a hand crafted or forged look. Modern items can have spells placed on them, but they don't tend to endure.

I just think it would feel cooler if magic had more of a mysterious undercurrent, and look, that made it stand out a bit. As if the Magi still have some secrets from the world. The scientists might have a clue, but for some reason, they're not talking.

:?: What do you think?

Coal Light has become an unusual favorite of the Magi. Coal tends to react well with the Light Spell, which endures far longer than it would if cast on almost anything else. The Magi say the essence of fire within the coal feeds the light, which is still cool, but bright. Stylized coal lanterns are becoming more popular, as are beads of coal sealed in glass, which are used as jewelry and charms.

Glaziers are lower echelon Magi who have become skilled in the arts of glass making and glass enchanting. They are able to create subtle lenses and large panes or mirrors that reveal truths, hold illusions, or amplify powers. Their workmanship has become so valuable in the America's that the Court of Stars has given them special licensing and dispensation. A Glazier even sits in the Court's Second Circle, a difficult feat for any unblooded Magi.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Neo-Paladin » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:48 am

I am still going for the idea that certain magic items are available to the public (elemental-fuelled cars etc.). I want to take a step away from the usual "secret society who has all the secrets" thing. Magic is a force that everyone knows and would be stupid not to believe in. Most magic items are rather pricey but you can count on at least one such minor item being present in most households. Mundane items are still cheaper since they can be more easily mass-produced - and you do not need a mage at the conveyor belt doing incantation after incantation...

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Libra » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:12 pm

Interesting work, my good fellows, please keep it coming. :D
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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Damren » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:41 pm

Neo-Paladin wrote:I am still going for the idea that certain magic items are available to the public (elemental-fuelled cars etc.). I want to take a step away from the usual "secret society who has all the secrets" thing. Magic is ...
Okay. So, magic would generally be the high-end stuff, which the regular guy can get his hands on if he really tries, but generally can't afford it?

the Ferrari Black Dragon

Image

The sleek, HeX Metal body is artfully sculpted, and sealed with a silk-smooth Wiscott enamel that's sure to please. And if you thought the paint job was hot, wait until you see what's under the hood: An Enfirrion cast, pentahedron core encases the fiercest, burning primordial fire you're likely to ever see in a modern machine - enough power to take you from zero to 70 in four and a half seconds, in a machine that not only takes the heat, but dishes it out to everyone else on the road.

:?: I take it elementally powered VW's would be unlikely?

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by Neo-Paladin » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:26 pm

Indeed...now, as to your other questions...

:?: Faeries, Sprites, Pixies, etc.? In this world, or the one next door?

The "next" world, a universe only slightly removed from ours. That world has an even higher concentration of dark energy, allowing these creatures to sustain themselves wholly on it. This also distorts time.

:?: Native American's? Still around? Used their own manna to leave their lands behind for better worlds?

Many stayed, unwilling to leave the Americas to the White Man, whom they saw as a defiler. European magic proved to be more refined but in general, it managed to level the playing field somewhat. In the end, instead of all being forced into reservations, the Natives were eventually incorporated into society as a whole.
The Anasazi left via magic, though anyone attempting to follow them ends up on a world far removed, orbiting a dim, almost lifeless star, a place where the shadows seem strangely alive...

:?: Tesla the scientist? Edison the hedge wizard?

Tesla was a pure scientists while Edison had a few elemental tricks up his sleeve.

:?: Do we recycle?

Meaning?

:?: Are TV, video games, movies, magazines and paparazzi still around? Paris Hilton? Or, would there be different kinds of celebrities and pastimes in this world?

Given that magic is costly, many pastimes and entertainment avenues will be the same. Special effects are a lot more refined, though, given that you can actually hire a pyromancer to do the explosions for you or even an illusionist. A few sorcerers are also quite famous.

:?: Are there different schools and colleges for Magi, or is the curriculum integrated?

Mostly integrated, although, much like in our world where you have colleges specialising on certain fields (business, engineering etc.) there are a few colleges especially for magi. The most renowned ones would be the Crowley School of Modern Sorcery near Edinburgh, "das Polymagische Institut" in Dresden, Germany, The Vatican Institute for applied Theurgy in Rome (open only to Male Catholics) and the Los Angeles College for the Thaumaturgical Arts.

:?: Is magic everywhere? Or, just enough to be noticed as a real thing?

"Everywhere" is hard to say. But basically you can expect a magical phenomenon to make the news every now and then. Also, most people encounter magic in one way or another in their daily lives, though not every single day.

:?: Are there digital spell books? "sPads, mPads?"

Yes, much like there are digital editions of scientific books.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by infinitylantern » Mon May 21, 2012 10:18 am

This may have been mentioned but Arrowsmith by Busiek is a great example of magic instead of tech.

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Re: Anyone wanting to help with this?

Post by stebroad » Wed May 23, 2012 9:05 am

Reminds me of "Cast a Deadly Spell," an older HBO movie about a detective in a world where magic is commonplace.

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