Garan- The Name of Magic
Magic is a living entity, simple and non-sentient, but reactive to large-scale emotional states. Its name, like we might call a dog, 'Dog', is Garan. It is better to think of it as a huge astreal vine like plant, rather than an animal.
Magic is a living entity, simple and non-sentient, but reactive to large-scale emotional states. Its name, like we might call a dog, 'Dog', is Garan. It is better to think of it as a huge plant, rather than an animal.
Garan can be grown, harmed, shaped, controlled, in parts or as a whole. It responds to the actions/ feelings of the living things around it. Humans/ sentients being more emotive and directed, can do more to shape magic than green life and animals. Magic is more akin to gardening and sheparding, than studying and blasting. Mages tap the Garan's 'sap' to produce effects. Those effects must be 'in tune' with the local section of Garen. If they are not, the Garan might respond adversly. Note, you can only twist, push, or manipulate it so far. The Garan has an 'immune system' to defend itself. That reality shaping backlash can be pretty darn dangerous.
Magic produces 'buds' which can be implanted into an item, location or living thing. Buds are generated by concentrating certain feelings/ ideas. Certain holy locations might continue to produce holy items, as buds there are incorporated into them. The Arena might be used to produce buds for weapons or fighting. Volcanos produce fire powers. Etc Etc. The buds of Magic must be fed, nurtured and cared for, or they will die. So magic items must be recharged with appropriate energies. You have to keep items near appropriate areas for a time, so they can grow strong again. Keep an item of cold production away from the arctic tundra that spawned it (or the top of the mountain, or a glacier) and it will grow weaker and weaker... eventually dying off.
What do you think and where should we go with it?
This takes magic from an obscure mystic sort of power to a physical (or at least physiological) manifestation that can be directly manipulated.
I like it and it is more where the magic I like to use in my games come froms. I almost always have some sort of physical form of the magic because I really dislike the arbitrary limits placed by many other systems.
'You only get two second level spells.'
'Because it says so on page 142.'
This doesn't have to have a physical manifestation but since the source of the magic is defined then there are ways to deal with how to control it. And with a firm description of what magic is then you can justify how it is used, who has the power to do it, etc., in a logical and justified system that people can actually understand and accept.
I like the idea of being able to grow, harm, shape, and control it.
This gives me the thought that there would be magic 'gardeners' that are professionals at creating and manipulating the magic. Due to their close relationship with magic they will be VERY powerful but I would think they would be more like a merchant religious order. Nobody would ever attack them but they are not able or resistant to greed and lust outside their magic. Magic gives them everything they need. They will probably control the most potent magic but will part with it begrudgingly.
Would make me think that, while there is magic around, if it can be controlled then there won't be much just 'out there' per se. Mages would have to have a way to carry magic with them. Perhaps the nature of it allows it to have a magical container or perhaps the magic follows them around like the little power identifiers in video games.
Others can collect the magic besides the order above and they could sell it? Or is magic too wild for all of this? Either way there could be patches of untapped magic that appear randomly of different levels of power.
I will stop now, I usually go left when everybody else is going right so I will see where this goes.
Now I know these two things don't have much in common, and this is entirely brought on by Halo 2, but when I heard your description of magic as a plant, I immediately thought of the Flood, and of their weird giant-plant-god master, Gravemind. He's like a huge venus flytrap that speaks in riddles.
Anyway, since magic is like a plant, perhaps it's invisible (is it visible?) roots, vines, and tentacles are entertwined around everything, and all have their 'nexus' at Garan. Perhaps Garan's 'nexus' is his head, his physical manifestation, which he can speak from.
Ahh, I was thinking of it as somewhat isolated blobs. But the root and vines intertwining amogst the world is interesting too. Don't want them to become ley lines but twisting living masses that perhaps pulse or something seems cool.
I like the idea of it.So people in icy regions and people in warm regions would be paying good money for each other's spells. And any spell that was too big might get the spellcaster killed.What does it's immune system look like?
Re: Immune system
The immune system is like magic gone amok (amok, amok, amok... owww...sorry bad movie line). So you can get reality twisting, ala Steve Ditko - Dr Strange art, or by having a spell's effect grow metaphorically or literally grow fangs and go after the spell caster, or by having the emotinal metaphor of an area produce elementals/ buds of sorts that come after the PC (and keep hounding them if they don't kill it).
Re: Living thing
The Garan is a living thing. So it will do what it can to promote the production of energy, emotional energy. So it will probably enhance certain events beyond to what they would of been without its 'aid'. A small touch of semi-conconsious magic, and a situation is enhanced (or enflamed depending on your point of view). So its existance might make the world more melodramatic or extreme.
Re: Plant metaphor expanded.
The use of the vine metaphor is a good one. Perhaps a skill to follow vines/ power lines. This skill could be used to find things emotionally out of place (Shaldar is a place of happiness, why is their such sorrow coming into vines?) or for scrying locations...
There might be a mechanic that gives creating spell effects a 'grid runner' feel. (The Grid is the magical metaphor for the lines of mystic force that define 'space' where energy flows (ley lines and such) are hung in.) To cast spells, a character must concentrate and astreally follow a local vine, to a more central node, to tap the root of power appropriate to the effect, then bring that energy to the local vine to produce the spell. The closer the appropriate root, the faster the spell. so if you want a cold spell in a hot region, you would have to 'travel' a number of vines to get to a cold region root... and the vines along the way might 'rebel' agains this cold energy passing through it. Thus an immune system response.
Mages who live in an area will tend to these vines and nodes, making sure they are healthy and not clogged. So the mage might become everyone's big brother/ keeper/ god father, making sure that their territory is emotionally healthy (people happy, well fed, etc so they can feed the plants appropriate power) aso that they have an ample supply of power.
Also the metaphors of a given people will effect the Garan. So if the people have a belief in the Great Tusked Beasts - totem animal- lets say, they will feed that image into Garan. Any spell utilizing that image/ metaphor will tap that energy.
Of course, if you are an evil sort of mage, you would want to make sure your locals are dispairing, they have emotinal needs and wants, and that there is much death and decay in your area, all of it providing the appropriate negative energy you need.
Remember, to Garan, it is all energy. Light, Dark, or Mixed is not its concern. It simply lives in this flow of energy.
In places where there are no people and little in the way of living things, there will be little magic. So a blighted zone where everyone/ thing died off, would be like a place where the Garan was sprayed with weed killer.
Also (Did not know that about Halo.. Hmmm)
It sounds much like Palladium's Wormwood setting for Rifts. There's some interesting potential here, such as mages trading magical sources, much like trading manna cards in a CCG... Also, the variable nature of the magic in an area can make things interesting for players--not enough in a blasted area, too much to safely handle big spells in a jungle. This can also help explain why certain areas aren't developed in the game world, as magic there wouldn't work as it does in other areas. I like the idea that mages have to tend to magic, rather than simply using it whenever desired.
How to transport 'buds', particularly buds not fitting with the Garan around? As Garan, buds would be not of our material world. I see three basic possibilities:
- permanently embedded in items (enchanted items, last as long as mentioned above)
- temporarily embedded in items - special containers that protect the bud inside from a possible immune system response; as Garan of a hot region may react adversely on a cold bud
- temporarily embedded in the spellcasters themselves, or other living entities. Various adverse effects possible.
This vine ain't big enough for us two
With this magic, local knowledge can be very important. Why? Because one needs to attune himself to Garan in the given locale. What if next to the town full of happiness happened a great battle a hundred years ago? The locals may not care anymore, but the Garan remembers in its way, and while the wines of this kind are now few and lessening, they may give unexpected support to some battle mage or necromancer, for example. Even a high Skill may not reveal this, it can be found by chance, or purpose if you know the history.
A given bud needs to be anchored to a material object (item or person). Eventually, once it is groomed and trained (kind of like a Bonsai tree) it will put out its own willowy etheral roots, gathering the power it needs to fufill its needs/ purpose. Thus you get a magic item, an item that produces magic inddependent (or fairly independent) of the local Garan. Magic items will never be strong magic, as they are not tied into the large vines of the local Garan.
This vine ain't big enough for us two... continued
This is one of the keys to the magic system. It makes the world different than your usual 'magic is just a way to blast things' kind of magic system. In the 'real world', magic and occultism is all about information, research, and timing. So if you want to get big effect for less effort, you need to spend some time and find things out about the local world, either through research, experimentation, and code trading (exchanging info with other magic users).
This vine ain't big enough for us two II
So eventually people will start using 'meta-magic' that effects the vines themselves. This would probably be in an attempt to limit another MUs ability to reach certain vines. So if only one vine in an area has 'offensive spells' usable by mages in combat, you would be well served by stopping the other mage from being able to access it. So cutting links MUs have to links would be something they would be doing.
This vine ain't big enough for us two Part II
Yes, I was thinking of something like that. How about an intentional triggering of the immune response? If there is that too-powerful archmage able to toss ____-balls at anytime, would it not be a nicer way to defeat him? During an immune response the Garan may not work as usually.
And, how about making Garan 'allergic' to something? Thus the Valley of Peace, where no violence (or at least battle magic) is tolerated.
Oruchum, or some other 'magical metal' might have the properties to being 'anti-magic'. It acts as an sink, draining out and grounding the energies around it.
Properly refined or shaped, it might be a magic amplifier... the perfect vessel for magic items.
Perhaps the ability to mold and refine this material is a lost art, once the providence of an ancient order that has been destroyed (hunted because of complex political issues... kind of like the Templars?).
This allows for there to be ancient artifacts of power that are powerful and cool, while most modern items are pretty wimpy.
Many items might use coins of Oruchum (or our magic metal). These coins were once money for an ancient peoples, but now are just the foci used for magic items. (Thus that small pouch of 12 coins in that crack in the dungeon floor may be the most important find of the entire adventure. )
On a reply sort of note... making 'allergic' responses and deflecting them would be another kind of meta magic skill that would be used. Allergic responses would be generated by making a magical change in the material world that is not in line with the local Garan. It is harder to do because you have to import power from far away vines.
A sneaky thing would be to poison an area... by bringing on minor changes of the Garan, then jumping your target in that area. When they drawn a tiny bit of allergic powers, the Garan responds immediately and powerfully.
Perhaps part of the 'gardening' skill for the Garan is the ability to move 'toxic' energies (that cause allergic reactions) out of the local area to an appropriate one.
Perhaps with careful use, you can create you own little toxic pit... a dark foul thing that you can draw from because you know where it is and nobody else does (or should).
A Bonsai. Excellent metaphor. Just imagined the stereotypical wrinkled man, carefully cultivating the little piece of art. It can be carried around, but to become really strong, it has to be given a stable place, where it can grow and prosper.
To create a temple (with appropriate Garan) one needs to feed the place with proper energy for a LONG time (how long does it take for a new 'tree' to evolve, anyway?) or transport a bud from an existing temple.
'Revitalising the vines' - not with a fertiliser, but Ritual Magic! For that example of a long-forgotten battlefield, one should create ceremonial mock battles to strengthen the vines.
'Singing to the Plants' - just got the idea: if common plants are said to react well on music, should not this 'plant', too? No, no jukebox set up on a proper place. The song has to be played _live_, with a strong concentration on the given energy. To have some impact on a cold-based bud in a hot place (for example), you have to concentrate on the feeling of cold, and pass it to the Garan. Song Magic may an option then.
So if you want to get big effect for less effort, you need to spend some time and find things out about the local world, either through research, experimentation, and code trading (exchanging info with other magic users).
Interestingly, if this is known, it may have a serious impact on history, as battles and the like will be kept in secret, history overwritten and fact falsified. If this is known, not only indiviuals, but also governments (and other organisations) would want to keep critical information secret.
Turning the Garan Skill on its head, you don't try to connect to a node somewhere far to cast a spell, but rather search for the node itself, in the real world. Of course, given the differences between the worlds, a node can be on some completely inaccessible place. Two hundred feet high in the air, or in earth? In a lake, or directly in the volcano? Anyway, if you happen to find a good place, your spells will be much faster.
Strong magic is stationary, weak magic in movement - what impact could this have, for instance on philosophy?
Timing - the alignment of stars may have really some effect (Instant Plot Hook: the Haturians are massing their troops behind our borders, and a rare planetar constellation happens in a week! Find out what they are up to!)
Create Allergy: produced through carefull 'provoking' of the Garan with low doses of a certain energy, training it to make an immune response; once someone tries to cast the wrong spell, a massive reaction follows. The caster balances on the verge between no response and a strong response, must be able to handle several minor responses at least. Needs more examples of how a response looks like.
I just looked at what had crossed my mind in the True Troll submission. I then realized that it dove tailed nicely with the Garan Submission. So first, go read this post... or heck the entire thread (and read the Left Turn)... Go on I will wait.
True Trolls are a material species tied to the Garan of their area. There touch the Garan and it touches them. Because they are part of the Garan, they can not effect it... unlike Humans/ Elves/ etc. They are independent of the Garan, so their actions effect it.
Dire Trolls are victims of someone altering the Local Garan to fit their NEED FOR EVIL POWER. I use the term victim because they can not influence the Garan, they are reflections of it.
It is all about the region. Each region of Garan has a different feel to the garden.
Every region will have a small set of generic spells that will be castable in 95% of the regions.
Each Region of Garan will have a spell list. This spell list might list an entire 'school of magic', ala Gurps or Hero (Fire Magic, Music Magic, Necromancy, etc) or might be specific spells for a specific school. Several schools might be available. It all depends on the history and setting.
One thing that will be different in this spell list than in most games is 'summoning spells'. You will be able to call up 'figures' from the period's past. So in a region with a Roman feel, you will be able to summon up Legionaries, or Myrmadons, or Gladiators, or such.
In a desert region, based on a land of tombs, you will be able to call up mummies, and anubis headed figures, and sand storms, and pyramid walls, and such.
A character will have to attune themselves to the Garan in an area. Their skill will determine how many regions that can be tied to at one time. You will use your 'navigation skill' to follow your personal link to tap those spells. Of course, the meta magic skills involved in blocking people doing that, will be what your opposition will apply.
Will this system take more work on the part of the GM? You betcha! Will it be worth it? Oh yah.
I was thinking about the magic system. Many of the pieces should be pretty darm impressive. However, you should be able to tap the sap of the plant to get some basic cantrips.
My thinking for this you wonder? I am thinking hexing, changes in probability (for good or bad). This would be important with Garan Magic. Things in keeping with the Garan of the area, would be plus-able; things contrary would be cursable, would be negative-able. Thus you can use the history and emotional society of the place as a guideline for allergic response.
Note to Self: We need a task system listed for attunement, research, and various meta magics.
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? Responses (17)
I looooove this idea. love it I do.
I am having trouble wrapping my head around this. But from what I comprehend, is just 'wow'. This system allows you to have a detailed magic system based upon 'the game world's history'. It is not just random game mechanics. It is pay attention to the world or get screwed mechanics. WOOHOO! Take that power mongers!
It is a little hard to read. Maybe a summary would be nice.
Thank you Manfred. I did not realize you had voted on this one.
Well, this is one of the great forum threads which I too spent some time pondering about.
Deserves a HoH, too.
Hmmm - an interesting idea
I like the idea that magic has a source from which it stems, or base principle upon which it operates - much more intellectually satisfying then a load of variations on the standard list of Spells That Go Bang approach
Definitely top notch - 5/5 - and gets today's Hall of Honour vote
I subtracted a single .5 because I had a hard time reading it but I still love it.
I too enjoy the mechanics of watch or pay the price type of system. especially when it comes to magic. This speaks of the whole, "A butterfly flaps his wings, and a tsunami wipes out a city on the other side of the world." type of mentality.
I love it. My magic system is a process of harvesting in a physical form so I can really appreciate the fact that it must be nurtured like a plant. Kudos and yes this is HOH potential.
I really like this idea as well.It keeps magic under control,so to speak.
You know, Elven magics, would fit this mindset well. So human's can't produce the summoned creatures/ phantasms and some of their uber spells because they are not attached to the Garan.
This is just absolutely spectacular. The only thing I find myself wondering is - was there ever a 'first' Garan, and might it still exist, somewhere, possibly 'grown' in some immense fashion? Maybe even rooted deep within the world itself...
The first Garan is still there. Each Garan is for each regio, each area bounded by matrix ley flows. Garans expand into adjacent regiosm, either by growth or by sending a runner to grow a new Garan there. Garans do compete with each other.
Remember, these are metaphorical, astreal plants - a way to look at the flow of magical energy. The magical energy acts like a living, growing thing: absorbing energy (emotional/ spiritual/ solar) from the world around it, branching out to gather more, responding to stimulai like a plant does (slowly, but including toxic responses, sharp points, pheramones, etc). Those responses are often static magics, magics that occur just in the area.
whoaw! Quite heady this, for an early morning read. Impressive thread!
The idea is solid, the system tight, and the idea brilliant. This does however fall within the 'why didn't I think of that' category...
My hat off to you for another excellent idea.
I agree with Echo. I absolutely love this.
great read. Just the kind of inspiration I was looking for, integrating magic into the world rather than just dumping it in and extrapolating the consequences of it.
Thanks for digging this one up. Can tell it was a forum transfer but the discussion is just as valuable as the original piece. Really love this system!
What a great submission and discussion. It would be neat to see a new artical which summarized and expanded using the commentary.