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Re: How much did you write today? Errrr.... I wrote 400 words on my lunch break!
August 31, 2016, 08:07:24 AM
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Re: Explain your magic systems Okay, here it goes!  I don't think I ever wrote this all down in one place...

In my world, magic is understood differently by different people.

The Magi:

The Magi are an institution that began in the desert country of Kairnmoor, then spread across the world with the establishment of the Kairnmoori Empire.  The Empire is long gone, dissolved 200 years ago, but the institution of the Magi is now established across the land.  These are the typical wizards-in-a-tower sort of group. They train in the Tower of Secrets, starting with the 13th circle, supposedly only the Archmagus knows the 1st circle, but tbh he's afraid of that shit.  If you manifest magical powers, the magi will take you (often kicking and screaming).  Usually people manifest around 16, but the Magi have been known to take children.  People don't like their kids to be taken by the magi b/c 1) the magi tend to take people from the lower classes and look the other way with the rich. Once their kids become magi, they don't really reconnect to their home, for cultural/class reasons. 2) this is the main reason: most of them die.  People tend to be gifted with random abilities, eg. fire or space and time, speaking to animals etc. and often it is hard for them to expand out of the area in which their gifts manifested, unless they are extremely talented.

In order to become a Magus, you take the Trials.  There's three trials: 1) Loyalty-- they burrow into your mind (called "Delving" it's an agonizing experience that can kill you) to see if you are capable of loyalty, to the tower.  If not they kill you. 2) The Choosing: through illusions they try to force you to confront the core of your nature (that is, if one were to arrogantly assume that trauma reveals someone's true nature-- they think it's the core of your nature, I don't) at the end of which you choose the Ether or the Nether.  Think Yin and Yang, the Ether and Nether is the metaphysical substance of all things-- one the force of creation, the other the void that invites things into being.  Using the Ether is like wielding energy, using the Nether is like inviting things into being.  They can often be used to achieve similar things in different ways (someone can use the Ether to force you mechanically to kiss them, the Nether can be used to cloud your mind and make you *want* to kiss them), somethings can only be done with one or the other (Raising the dead, anything to do with the spirit really, Delving all requires a Black Magus).  The nether has been demonized and is (falsely) considered morally suspect or at least shadowy and dark by the magi.  Those who embrace it have sort of a megadeath morally flexible mentality, while those who embrace the Ether are a bit more goody-two-shoes moralistic.  Despite their self-concept of being good or evil, the light or darkness, there are plenty of evil white robed magi and plenty of good dark robed ones-- they just have an aestheic of "goodness" or "evil" theres a lot of mental acrobatics involved.
Once the Ether or the Nether has been chosen, the final, and most deadly of the Trials is the Cleansing.  They rip the other half of your spirit away, so that you can only channel one or the other.  Think of it like male circumcision/female genital mutilation but for your soul.  Most don't survive this.

Witches:

Those who don't want to take the Trials are witches.  There used to be folk traditions of magic, tied to nature.  Most of these have died out, and those who try to escape the trials usually don't last long.  They're hunted down and forced to take the trials, many of them fail.  The magi have also whipped villagers up against this sort of magic, saying that it's "unclean" (....like the argument for circumcision...) and often villagers turn against their friends and loved ones if they manifest powers and don't submit to the Magi and burn them.  A small coven of witches have found a way to hide in caves from the Magi, their leader is an incredibly powerful warlock who manifested at the age of seven and in a fit of fear accidentally burned his home with several magi and his parents to the ground.  He operates a sort of anarchist, egalitarian sanctuary for witches being hunted.

Religious:

Some religious people think magic comes from the gods, or that magic *is* the gods.  Perhaps you are tapping into nature spirits, or some of the gods of the pantheon-- they are made up of and make up the energy we all are and there for magic and the gods are intimately bound.  Religious people are somewhat circumspect about saying that b/c they don't want to be burned as witches.  There's overlap in thinking, especially for people at the top of the magical food chain.  The Dark Archmagus El'Nafis was said to commune with the gods to learn their secrets.

Shapeshifting:

In the first days, everyone could shapeshift, communities of today's nations emerged from tribes that could shapeshift into various creatures. Most have forgotten how (except for a group of monks on an island guarding a forbidden cave). Also, one race can still shapeshift into people.

Soulmagic

My story in part centers around a stone that grants wishes.  it's actually an ancient gate to the Depths that pulls a piece of your soul into the Depths with each wish. It's addictive and eventually you disappear forever into the Depths, widening the gate between the dead and the living.

There's also a kid born each generation (or each time the old one dies) called a Soulspeaker who can speak to the dead from birth. He can undo some black soulmagic as well.  The last one got murdered so the current one is hidden in the village where the Soulspeaker is always born. He's like 7 years old.

The Fell

Thousands of years ago, the highpriest of Shan'greal (a city on a mountain peak like Shangrilah) made a bad deal with Moriketh (a peddler now the cursed god of trade), and threw a tantrum and plunged the city into the Depths (aka hell).  Darkness spread over the mountain range and it's a place somewhere between the dead and the living. Around that time powerful witches made the Sentinels giant statues facing the mountain.  You can enter, but the Sentinels ensure that nothing can ever leave the Fell. if you die in the Fell you have to be cut into 7 pieces or you become a gollog, basically living on cutting off pieces of other people to replace your own parts as you decompose.  If you are born in the Fell, your eyes are completely black, no whites.   A'Elfar (basically humanish versions of elves) who are banished in the Bash'ne'khar are branded, tied up and sent in a boat on the River Nil (a river that runs backwards into a cave under the Fell).  They become Dae'Elfar (like dark elves) whose children all have the black eyes, a mark of being born in the Fell.

The Orphaned

The magical A'elfari Bash'ne'khar was adapted by the Kairnmoori Empire into simple (nonmagical) half-moon brands. Orphans who stole in the cities were branded on their cheek with a half moon. That mark meant the couldn't enter any city again, many of them died of hunger on the sides of the road. Seleana the White (Archmagus at the time) cast a spell of the First Circle that would protect them all from suffering.  First Circle magic is crazy shit, so the spell actually killed her and had the unintended consequence of making the orphans immortal (well they won't age or die of hunger or disease, but they can get chopped up just as easy as anyone else).  It's been 200 years and the Kairnmoori Empire is long gone, but bands of theiving children known as the Orphaned with half-moon brands still live in the forests.

Gods

Moriketh is the God of Commerce worshiped in Solis a sort of democratic greek city-state built on slave labor.  He's actually trapped in a cave on the other side of the Fell in the Jungles of Ede for all eternity.  He can see world events through the eyes of rats.  He can also see the future and past.  His village is long gone, his shop now a cave on an island, the entrance a secret.  An ancient temple of shape-shifting monks who can speak to animals nearby have dedicated themselves to guarding the cave and killing anyone who gets too close for countless generations (they are the descendants of people who once inhabited Moriketh's village thousands of years ago).  If you reach him in his cave of treasures, he will lure you into a deal, usually requiring something incredibly heinous in exchange.  Once a deal is made, he can speak to you telepathically to re-negotiate.  If you don't fulfill your end of the bargain, you will die and your soul becomes his to entertain himself with in his prison until someone comes to trade him for you.  There is also a pool in his cave in which the dead can be brought back to life, for a price of course.

Maitreya is now an undead shadow-thing, father of these creepy shadow-creatures that will kill your ass and turn you into one of them.

The Lev'y'tan (like... Leviathan...) is a Cthulu-like creature that inhabits the Depths.  There is an elaborate ritual by which it can be summoned from the Depths and be controlled which involves using the Wishstone to make the gate and the Soulspeaker as a host for the creature.'

Dragons

Dragons can shapeshift into human-like things (as all things once could shapeshift.) They're trapped in the Fell. The like to eat people.

August 31, 2016, 09:02:17 AM
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Re: A rant on "Balance"
I wouldn't call that "balance" exactly.
Live in the extreme.  Write in the extreme.

I think of myself as incredibly imbalanced!  But I get plenty of life experience (perhaps too much).  For me, writing (even fiction) is a way to process and make sense of life.  That said, sitting alone in your room writing *is* an experience and you can go meta and use that too-- what emotions you feel, the peace of solitude or the gaping hole of loneliness or the joy of falling into a 7-hour Wikipedia hole...  My problem is I have all these ideas for great narratives to compose based upon some trigger that happened while talking to an uber driver or an experience w/ a homeless guy and I never get the chance to milk that moment of inspiration...

You're living regardless when youre writing, and you're composing narratives in your head when you're living, so I don't see it as a balance problem at all.

September 01, 2016, 07:34:16 AM
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Re: Story Structure
What I really need is a story structure that thinks of the story in terms of several climatic events, of ever bigger waves - suspenseful lull and build, violence, suspenseful lull, Violence, suspenseful lull, VIOLENCE, suspenseful lull

VIOLENCE!

Take out the suspenseful lulls and you have the Michael Bay Story Structure

September 05, 2016, 07:04:58 AM
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Re: [Aug 2016] - Potions and Elixirs - Voting Thread Just save time and vote on the best title (basically the same way American elections work)!  Oh wait, mine's untitled...
September 05, 2016, 07:47:12 AM
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Re: What are you currently watching? Recently re-watched Krull. 

Just started Mr. Robot.  It's a total rip off of flight club, without the fights, but I'm loving it.  The central character is just riveting.

September 19, 2016, 06:44:23 AM
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Re: Published 1. Get really really famous
2. Hire a ghostwriter
3. Call a publisher

September 22, 2016, 09:44:57 AM
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Re: Dragon Vs Wyvern Vs Draconian
Wyverns and black and made out of 16-bit graphics on the Darksun Computer game from the 90s

Dragons float in the air, have mustaches and no legs and sort of a mane, unless they aren't from China in which case there's a ton of different kinds of all colors and leg combinations.  They all fly.

Draconians suck unless they're Sivaks b/c they can take your shape after you're killed by them or Auraks b/c Auraks are just badass and super sadistic. But sivaks have wings and can fly so that's way cooler than auraks.  Kapaks lick their swords with their poisoned tongues before they start a fight, which is sort of a cool image, personally I think they should make a winged sword-licking sivak (wings and tall and whatnot) with some of the aurak powers (but not looking like an aurak b/c they're ugly). The rest are pretty damn lame.

September 22, 2016, 09:51:20 AM
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Re: Got a blog? Share it! Your photographs are beautiful
September 25, 2016, 02:02:38 AM
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Happy Mabon!!!! Wishing you all the best autumn....
September 25, 2016, 02:32:28 AM
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