Post:Questions about mixing mana types. - 11/10/2009 - 20:07:32

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Re: Questions about mixing mana types. · on 11/10/2009 8:07:32 PM 329
What sorcery is has been a fairly confused issue. Since we're near enough to the Necromancer guild release, incoming lore wonk.

First, we need to separate out the social and the physical dimensions at work: they are not the same thing.

SOCIAL:

Okay, while we all play wise wizards of tremendous power and lore, the average person populating the Crossing does not really care what a mana stream is. They cannot see what you are doing with mana when you're casting the spell, only that you gesture and something happens. If you tried to explain sorcery as a manipulation of multiple manas and yadda yadda, most would think you are being pointlessly theoretical.

As far as society cares (as reflected in the justice system), whether something is or isn't sorcery depends on the spell. Limb Disruption is sorcery, it doesn't matter if you happened to have distilled it to use a single mana type. Shadows is not sorcery, even if you're casting it with Elemental mana.

This is semi-arbitrary, as all social structures are. What is and is not sorcery depends on society's iconic ideas here, moderated by the strong political powers of the magic-using guilds. Moon Mages, in particular, get a pass on some demonic looking stuff because the Celestians and Tezirites are working night and day to keep Moon Mages looking presentable and profitable to everyone involved.

This benefits Necromancers to some extent, because not everything they do is obvious. If a Necromancer casts a spell that is utterly invisible, he is "not doing sorcery" as far as society is concerned. The reverse is also true: anyone, regardless of guild, who casts an obvious necromancy spell "is a Necromancer" as far as the pitch-fork wielding mobs are concerned.

PHYSICAL:

There's been a lot of confusion about this, which I am about to add to. Consider this definitive and superseding any previous statements that conflict with this -- until the next GM after me does the same thing, anyway. Sorcery is the act of using multiple types of mana to empower a spell pattern. A sorcerous spell is one that is written to presume this is happening.

Let's take a step back and review two important background concepts to make sure we're all on the same page.
A: Individual Elanthians cannot attune to more than one type of mana at once, due to physiological limits. Your nervous system becomes wired to your first attunement and just can't be made to "bend" in another direction.
B: While the four mana frequencies share the majority of their qualities each each other, creating an understanding of all four as a single force we call mana, each also has distinct characteristics. Each one can be thought of as a different environment for spellcasting.

A sorcerous spell is one that was written that crosses the streams, which could only be cast "for reals" if you had access to two (or more) frequencies of mana feeding into it at once. Since you don't and you can't have access to that, this gives sorcerous spells the quality of being volatile and dangerous to everybody.

So, if that's the case, what's Arcane mana? Nobody except the Necromancers actually know ICly, but, hey, I'll tell you as part of a social experiment to see how fast it gets taken for IC knowledge anyway.

Remember, the limit on attunement is physiological. If you were a god sitting up there in the spiritual plane and got the urge to, you could probably create a being that was able to do it. For whatever reason they didn't do this, but they probably could've. And if you're a bunch of mortal magicians with a panache for freakish mutations of the human body and a well developed god complex, there's nothing to stop you from trying.

Attunement to Arcane mana involves some pretty substantial changes to how a Necromancer's nervous system works (in ye olde days, the Imperial Healers' Guild hypothesized that the social deviance of sorcerers was somehow linked to these changes to the brain -- fortunately, no one knows or cares about their pesudo-magical theories anymore). The goal of the procedure is to produce a magician that can see and operate with multiple types of mana at once.

It... doesn't quite work. Perhaps their method is still too crude and faulty, or perhaps the prohibition is wired even deeper into how the brain works than even they can manipulate, but the attempt always goes wrong. Even attuned to multiple mana types, in the Necromancer's perceptual sphere they superimpose upon each other into this freakish, aggregate, other kind of mana that does not really exist.

Necromantic spells are written to account for deranged movements of this "fifth frequency," but the lack of true multi-attunement perception means they can suffer like other people when casting outside their normal environment.

-Armifer

This message was originally posted in The Necromancers (26) \ Spells - Necromancers (6), by DR-ARMIFER on the play.net forums.

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