Magic, The Earth Way


  • Coder

    If I asked you to tell me what kind of magic Earth would have, what magic is Earth Magic, what would be your answer? I’m asking this, and want any related answer.

    This magic does not hide. There is no special power or ability to be able to see it. It can be obvious or loud or subtle or dull, don’t worry about people would react or what time period you’d be pulling from, even today,but it has to be magic that originates and exists on Earth.

    Generic fantasy magic need not apply, unless it’s the Earth version, and feels like it.



  • Technology. Earth magic is technology.


  • Pitcrew

    Coincidence.

    In small sample sizes, things do not happen at the rates at which they should based on statistics. Maybe it's just because we notice them when they happen... but maybe they really do happen more often than they should based on statistics.



  • Earth magic, as opposed to...Martian magic?
    Or are you saying Earth like one of the classic elements, or Earth in the sense people mean when they say "Mother Nature," or...? I'm not quite sure what you're asking.

    When I think of magic in my own fiction I think of it in terms of a universal force like gravity or electromagnetism, it doesn't really "come from" anywhere. I guess I'd interpret the question as what is Earth's "style," or how do people on Earth use it, but that's like asking how they use language. It's...like a lot of things. Like really, really a lot. It's too big a question.


  • Coder

    @wizz said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    Earth magic, as opposed to...Martian magic?

    As opposed to Faerun Magic. As opposed to Vancian Magic. As opposed to WoW Magic. As opposed to...

    The Egyptians had magic. The Turks had magic. The Greeks had magic. Even if these things weren't actually real, these are magics that make sense for Earth, and make sense depending on the religions and regions of the time.



  • Mathematics is Earth Magic.

    Or something involving the manipulation of probability models.



  • I'm not totally sure what you're asking but

    Voodoo and every other African diasporic tradition includes "magic"

    Catholicism, Roman and Eastern, includes "magic"

    A lot of religions have "magic" in them

    There are also tons of "it's-just-magic" traditions separated (however nominally) from religion, ranging from like Order of the Golden Dawn to OTO to Hoodoo/root working to Kabbalah to Gematria



  • @thenomain said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    The Egyptians had magic. The Turks had magic. The Greeks had magic. Even if these things weren't actually real, these are magics that make sense for Earth, and make sense depending on the religions and regions of the time.

    So aren't you kind of answering your own question?
    Those are all valid answers but they're...also the inspiration for Vancian/Faerun/WoW magic. I guess I still don't really get what it is you're looking for either.


  • Coder

    @wizz said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    @thenomain said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    The Egyptians had magic. The Turks had magic. The Greeks had magic. Even if these things weren't actually real, these are magics that make sense for Earth, and make sense depending on the religions and regions of the time.

    So aren't you kind of answering your own question?

    My question was what you think is Earth Magic.

    So I kind of am answering my own question but only if my audience is a mirror, which defeats the purpose.



  • That would be a really cool idea for a story.

    Mathmagic. Castin' mathic. Theorem-slingers. Quantifying -faces-.

    I... think I might use that for something. Along with my idea for teenage eunuchs used as conduits by creepy old mages to avoid burnout.


  • Coder

    I... need context.

    Are you saying: If magic were real, on this world we know, what would it be like?

    Read: A Madness of Angels, the Matthew Swift novels. By Kate Griffin.

    Where the rules of the known world matter, supernaturally: a pass onto the metro is a barrier unstoppable because people accept that barrier.

    The magic of Earth is the magic of the structures of people, and calling to the inhabitants of Earth and their beliefs and structures.



  • I think a lot of it, as you described in the clarification, is going to emerge from out of various cultures and be somewhat specific to them.

    In the alt-earth world I tinker with, there's an over all connection amongst these things that's can best be described as 'belief brings things into being'. As in, enough people believe in a thing long enough, it's going to become real to some extent, in some way. You can find references to things like this in some world faiths -- a tulpa is probably the best and most direct example -- but there are parallels in some 'faith in X can manifest in miracles/etc.', and various game systems have used a version of this for cleric powers and such. (A really fantastic example of how this could be used in a game without being crazy over the top obvious fireballs and whatnot? The film Frailty. Holy shit. If you haven't seen it, do. It nailed mystics in surrWorld right to the wall, at least.)

    You can even see manifestations of this in the use of propaganda; enough people believe a thing, it may as well be true, and people react accordingly or act in accordance with that belief. @ixokai's example of the barrier people believe in being effective only because people believe in it and what it represents is also excellent and fits into the same (very big) bucket really well; it's essentially a genre shift away from being a holy symbol in this way.


  • Pitcrew

    Earth magic.

    alt text


  • Pitcrew

    I think all mythologies have stories that would parallel what Earth magic is: a mixture of fate and luck blessings and curses, dragon's blood that renders people invincible, dunking your child in a sacred, God-blessed river to make them invulnerable.


  • Pitcrew

    @admiral said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    That would be a really cool idea for a story.

    Mathmagic. Castin' mathic. Theorem-slingers. Quantifying -faces-.

    This actually is sort of part of the magic in the world of Grossman's Magicians novels. Mages have to be geniuses to manage all the math and shit required to be able to do magic to begin with.

    It's not just math, but it factors heavily into it. It's part of why I love those books.


  • Coder

    @ixokai said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    I... need context.

    The initial concept was that there would be no context beyond what was posted, but I also am not very good at explaining myself on the best of days.

    You are on Earth, this planet, today. You discover that there is magic to be had on Earth. What is it?

    I only ask that if it's something from an existing source, that it at least makes logical sense to you that

    So yes, I'm saying:

    If magic were real, on this world we know, what would it be like?

    --

    The magic of Earth is the magic of the structures of people, and calling to the inhabitants of Earth and their beliefs and structures.

    And here's where I hem and haw, because this answers the question—all of these answer the question—it doesn't work for what I haven't said, and I haven't said it on purpose because I want people to talk about the magic in their head, not about my world-building.

    Picking about my world-building can come later.

    • Technology? I love it but what about it is magic?
    • Math? Even more love it, because have you seen math? It has a huge of the same sense of wonder and unknowable secrets as magic.
      Math
    • Quantum Mechanics. Douglas Adams touched on this one once or twice in the H2G2 Trilogy (of four books). <3
    • Belief. I love old Mage. I love it specifically for the "belief = power".

    --

    I'm not jerking people around, I swear. I want everyone's answers, and I will look into reading "A Madness of Angels".

    --

    Though suddenly, I want this game:

    Republic City


  • Coder

    @auspice said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    @admiral said in Magic, The Earth Way:

    That would be a really cool idea for a story.

    Mathmagic. Castin' mathic. Theorem-slingers. Quantifying -faces-.

    This actually is sort of part of the magic in the world of Grossman's Magicians novels. Mages have to be geniuses to manage all the math and shit required to be able to do magic to begin with.

    It's not just math, but it factors heavily into it. It's part of why I love those books.

    It's also arguably the idea behind Charles Stross' Laundry Files, where applied mathematics have an unfortunate tendency to alter reality, and thus computer science and math grad students have an unfortunate tendency to nearly be eaten by otherworldly Lovecraftian entities. This is also why you have things like "Applied Computational Demonology" in those books.

    (It is also more or less the premise of Margaret Ball's tongue-in-cheek Mathemagics—originally a short story called "Career Day" in Esther Friesner's Chicks in Chainmail, later a whole novel.)

    It's a fun concept to play with!


  • Coder

    The thing I have difficulty on this question is that... Earth is big as a setting.

    There's numerous cultures, both historical and current. Do you mean magic has always been here, so it has to make sense in a historical context, too?

    Or does magic change with the times?

    Or does magic change with the environs?

    In Swift's world, there's a stark difference between magic of nature and magic of cities, for example. Swift is an urban sorcerer. He draws on the magic of cities. The flow of traffic. The meaning of zoning laws. The boundaries of urban life (ie, as I gave example before: you don't get on the subway without a ticket. It says so on a ticket. People, more or less, believe this. Magic monster is coming up at you-- get a ticket, get past the boundary, hold the ticket up! You've now effectively cast a ward against the monster crossing a line that has meaning because people believe it). All these things are utterly mundane, but because people live them, they have a supernatural force.

    Now, go into nature. Go into a rural space. Magic is different. The rules are different. There's still magic there, but it follows the patterns and structures of rural life. Druids thrive there.

    The idea is that there is no inherent 'earth magic', there's people-magic. Back in Egypt, magic was about words. What you say: what you write. Repetition. These are the essence of spells. People believe them. That creates a ripple through reality and gives truth to the act of casting a spell.

    The world moved on: Egyptian magic stopped working because people stopped believing in it, it stopped being part of the rules that people just assumed were true.

    But off in Sumeria, maybe they had magic too, that worked different. Because people and life and the order of life was different there.

    This is the issue I have with the question, and why I ask for context: Earth is big. Diverse. There's almost nothing universal about it. Magic is life and life is magic, but the life I live in Los Angeles doesn't relate to the life someone might live in New Delhi.

    If I were to try to make a general 'Earth' magic, one that had meaning in both the past and the present, in rural and urban contexts.. I am suddenly blank.


  • Coder

    @ixokai

    Alright, here's the world I'm building. I'm going to post just the introduction to the world-building document (huge props to @Auspice, who is also acting as a sounding board). I'm not doing this for commentary on the particular Earth I'm constructing, and I don't think that's going to answer your questions, but it will explain where I'm coming from.

    --

    ***Big Block of Text***

    click to show

    --

    Important notes:

    • No Gods. (Only Man? Er.)
    • I'd like it if science were science and math is math as we understand them. I'm a bit of a Neil Degrasse-Tyson fan that way.
    • I'm not talking about the world, yet, just how to make these fantasy races deal with OUR Earth, but I still want magic to keep some spice to it.

  • Coder

    @Thenomain
    What comes to me after reading that is... magic of the earth is motion.

    On a primitive way, you can achieve a lot of elementalism like effects. Control wind, fire. Perhaps controlling water is too much, but standing near a river would be a powerful source of power: take some motion from it and build a storm.

    In a more advanced form, combined with machines, instead of fossil fuels, you have cells that are flywheels that get charged up, and the engine slowly leeches motion out of the cell to spin the pistons.

    Then get creative: fine and refined uses of motion. What in the world can't be defined in some way by motion?

    EDIT:

    You could have different applications; some purely martial, for example. Like Shadowrun physical adepts, someone infusing control of their own motion into their fighting style. True adepts could look at a moving system as complex as life and influence it, perhaps.

    Anyways, that's what comes to mind reading about your world.


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