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Author Topic: Magic in civilizations  (Read 644 times)

Bhalandros

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Magic in civilizations
« on: January 08, 2018, 02:21:06 am »

Since the next big update is most likely going to be the magic update, it would be nice to have an addition to the cultural ethics of civilizations. Perhaps one for each type of magic, for example goblin civilizations might be more pre-inclined towards "evil magic" being acceptable, such as necromancy, but perhaps see unacceptable the use of "good magic", and the like. Dwarves might perhaps like or dislike magic, perhaps seeing it as a good tool, or as a cowardly cheating manner, some civs perhaps banning the use of all magic with exile, revamping perhaps the necromancer (and possibly other magic users?) towers: make them be exiles from their former civilization instead of them leaving willingly to the tower.
Not sure if this is completely possible, but I thought I might as well just say it.
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KittyTac

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 04:38:20 am »

Again, this would depend on the world. And the main races will be only available in the middle of the divergence scale, higher up it's completely random races, lower down it's humans only.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 07:11:43 am »

Since the next big update is most likely going to be the magic update, it would be nice to have an addition to the cultural ethics of civilizations. Perhaps one for each type of magic, for example goblin civilizations might be more pre-inclined towards "evil magic" being acceptable, such as necromancy, but perhaps see unacceptable the use of "good magic", and the like. Dwarves might perhaps like or dislike magic, perhaps seeing it as a good tool, or as a cowardly cheating manner, some civs perhaps banning the use of all magic with exile, revamping perhaps the necromancer (and possibly other magic users?) towers: make them be exiles from their former civilization instead of them leaving willingly to the tower.
Not sure if this is completely possible, but I thought I might as well just say it.

Isn't what magic counts as good or evil essentially the cultural matter in question?  Evil magic is surely whatever forms of magic your civilization decides is evil. 

Why for instance can we not have good necromancers?
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IndigoFenix

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 09:58:33 am »

Rather than divide them into good or evil, it might make more sense to divide them based on spheres and a civ's sphere alignment.  Necromancy is not explicitly evil, but it is tied to the DEATH sphere, which some civs might not be too fond of.  Similarly magic based on TREES or ANIMALS might be more accepted by elves, while EARTH and CRAFTS might be more dwarvish.  Humans are a wild card and would have their particular spheres picked at random.

KittyTac

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 10:10:00 am »

Rather than divide them into good or evil, it might make more sense to divide them based on spheres and a civ's sphere alignment.  Necromancy is not explicitly evil, but it is tied to the DEATH sphere, which some civs might not be too fond of.  Similarly magic based on TREES or ANIMALS might be more accepted by elves, while EARTH and CRAFTS might be more dwarvish.  Humans are a wild card and would have their particular spheres picked at random.

And randomly-generated races might have a sphere picked based on their looks and ethics.
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PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 10:22:20 am »

Agreed. Objectively good/evil magic systems sound a bit too D&D for my taste. Which I wouldn't mind for the occasional world but not as a general rule.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 03:02:35 pm »

Rather than divide them into good or evil, it might make more sense to divide them based on spheres and a civ's sphere alignment.  Necromancy is not explicitly evil, but it is tied to the DEATH sphere, which some civs might not be too fond of.  Similarly magic based on TREES or ANIMALS might be more accepted by elves, while EARTH and CRAFTS might be more dwarvish.  Humans are a wild card and would have their particular spheres picked at random.

Is necromancy really about death though.  It could equally be about life couldn't it? 
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Urlance Woolsbane

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 06:14:09 pm »

Is necromancy really about death though.  It could equally be about life couldn't it?
Biomancy would, I assume, entail the creation of new life, as opposed to the animation of lifeless bodies.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 02:59:57 pm »

Biomancy would, I assume, entail the creation of new life, as opposed to the animation of lifeless bodies.

Isn't animating bodies life rather than death?  Death magic would presumably be about killing people not making people who are dead, less dead.
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Urlance Woolsbane

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 04:58:02 pm »

Biomancy would, I assume, entail the creation of new life, as opposed to the animation of lifeless bodies.

Isn't animating bodies life rather than death?  Death magic would presumably be about killing people not making people who are dead, less dead.
The undead aren't strictly alive, however. They're just magic automatons, mobile in spite of themselves. And there's no reason death magic can't be about both smiting people and using their unnaturally animated cadavers to kill even more.
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PlumpHelmetMan

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 05:30:57 pm »

Well, there ARE traditionally sentient forms of undead (vampires and liches, for instance), so with them the line between living being and fleshy automaton becomes a bit more blurred, but those wouldn't normally be the type to be animated by necromancers anyway.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 05:33:02 pm by PlumpHelmetMan »
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SixOfSpades

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2018, 02:24:33 am »

Necromancers really get a bad rap, considering all they really want is to raise a family.

On another note, is a group of necromancers called a "corps" of necromancers?
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KittyTac

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2018, 02:41:37 am »

Necromancers really get a bad rap, considering all they really want is to raise a family.

On another note, is a group of necromancers called a "corps" of necromancers?

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Urlance Woolsbane

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 03:12:41 am »

Well, there ARE traditionally sentient forms of undead (vampires and liches, for instance), so with them the line between living being and fleshy automaton becomes a bit more blurred, but those wouldn't normally be the type to be animated by necromancers anyway.
A lich is essentially a ghost riding a zombie, but point taken on vampires.

At one point, Toady planned to have Frankstein's Monster-esque night creatures, so it's possible we'll eventually see his take on the matter.
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GoblinCookie

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Re: Magic in civilizations
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 01:28:29 pm »

The undead aren't strictly alive, however. They're just magic automatons, mobile in spite of themselves. And there's no reason death magic can't be about both smiting people and using their unnaturally animated cadavers to kill even more.

Well, they are more alive than they were before.   :) :)

Actually it does not matter whether the regular undead are in fact mere automatons, the necromancers that control them are (in present DF) themselves undead are are quite sapient.  The zombies were dead before so they did not lose anything by being raised as mindless automatons while the necromancers are now freed from having to make their own writing materials so they can spend forever writing books recording their centuries worth of wisdom for posterity. 

The point is not that folks could not use the magic *of* death to raise zombies, it is that from a morality POV a civilization that holds death in high esteem would likely find necromancy appalling even it used the power *of* death to thwart the process of death.  Using death magic to kill folks however is however quite in alignment with the value of death since you are spreading death in the world by killing more folks. 

There is a potential distinction here between the value of death and the power of death.  If I hate death but have the ability to become immortal only by using the power of death to make myself undead then I will do so if possible.  If I love death then I will not make myself undead even if the power of death allows me to do so because I want to actually become fully dead one day.  If magic is tied to the value of the thing the power of which you are wielding, so that in order to wield death magic you have to value death, a situation occurs that while death magic may be used to raise undead nobody who has the ability to do so would ever do it. 

Logically however, necromancy could equally be an expression of the power of life (so the name stops making sense) ;).  This is actually a far worse situation because those who value life are more liable to hate death, so there is a quite logical path for someone to use the power of life to make themselves immortal through undeath rather than accept that their time is finally up. 

Necromancers really get a bad rap, considering all they really want is to raise a family.

On another note, is a group of necromancers called a "corps" of necromancers?

I am not sure it is not because of the sheer potential threat of the zombie apocalypse.  The more you kill, the more zombies you can raise and the more zombies you can raise the more you can kill.  The powers that be hold to the inherent evilness of necromancy because they must stamp it out wherever it gets established, since the only way the zombie apocalypse can be stopped is if you can deploy overwhelming force before it gets going.  This means necromancy must be considered the ultimate evil or else folks would not put aside whatever other disputes they have in order to unite to assemble such an overwhelming force.  There is also another problem with necromancers from the POV of the living.

Once sapient undeath exists life is now obsolete.   8)
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