Saturday, April 17, 2010

Magical Theory

So hopefully those of you who have been reading this blog are starting to understand our theory on role-playing. Basically we believe that the adventurers should be out there doing wild and wooly things while the rest of the world moves forward on its own. That means that mundane stuff is going on all the time and the adventuring somehow fits in the cracks and gaps. We don’t have to dwell on the mundane stuff, as long as we know that there are NPCs out there doing it.
An Example: Just like in our culture, there are tons of people spending their lives debating things that the rest of us couldn’t care less about. In the game world, it would seem most likely that other than religion (well religions because there are so darn many gods), magical theory would likely be one of the most debated things. Take a comet ball for instance. The spell description itself says that the mage rips a fiery stone from the heavens and hurls it down at the mage’s will. I don’t want to get into the physics of it, but to actually rip a meteor or asteroid from space and hurl it down to the Earth in a matter of 10 second or less would likely be moving the rock at light speed or faster. Of course, not everyone (in fact probably no one) in the fantasy world would understand meteors or the speed of light, so they might argue this is possible. Others might argue that the comet ball was moving at magically fast speeds. There might be angels who anticipate the need for comet balls and set them in motion hours before they are needed, and the mage is simply guiding them. Maybe the comet ball is coming from the elemental dimension of earth. Maybe the comet ball is traveling through hyperspace or using space folding techniques. Maybe hyperspace and the elemental plane are the same place.
Do you as a GM or a player, care which of these is true? Well, not really. Do you need to debate it during one of your gaming sessions? Absolutely not! So does it matter? It doesn’t matter, but if you know that there are people employed by magical universities to research and try to figure out silly theories like this, than you have just built a better, more realistic, and even more interesting game world for your players. Well, and for you!
Will these ever matter? They might. If the debate is which is more powerful divine magic or sorcery, well those kind of arguments have a habit of spilling over into feuds, duels, and other civil unrest. Even if the comet ball debate ended in a fist fight, it would likely only be interesting and not important. Yes, we’re all picturing two weakling mages arguing over whether comet ball angels exist while they wrestle on the floor of an empty lecture hall. OK, maybe that was just me.

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