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What is magic?

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12/5/2017 11:55:16   

So, the Rose is trying to end magic, many of them literally. Let's ignore all the implications that would bring, for now, and focus on something far more fundamental: To end magic, you have to have a definition of magic, so that you know what you should end.

You might say that it is obvious. But let me present to you a few problems with your understanding of magic (in the DF universe).

First, let me take a quote from Magus Hansa's book "The Nature of Magic":

Magic on Lore
Magic on Lore is contained in ley lines, which run across and through the planet like haphazardly-placed latitude and longitude lines. Where these ley lines intersect, there are nexuses of magic which act as reservoirs. There are two central ley lines: the Verix, running North-South, and the Horix, running East-West. To perform feats of magic, a mage must draw on the magic contained in one of Lore's ley lines or nexuses.

Drawing from Ley Lines
The largest nexuses is the core of the planet; it contains the most pure magic available, and is centered where the Verix overlaps the Horix. There is no single mage strong enough to tap into this nexus, though it is rumored the Blue Mage or the Mad Weaponsmith have not revealed the full extent of their power, and they will neither confirm or deny their ability to utilize the central nexus. Normal nexuses and ley lines can be tapped into and drawn from safely, in controlled amounts.

This explains how ordinary, Lorian magic works. But it is far from the whole story. We know that Warlic's powers work differently, and the way that Warlic and Cysero are stated together makes me believe that Cysero's magic indeed is of a peculiar kind too.

Now, let me try to convince you that using mana =/= magic, and vice versa.

If Theano is to be believed, there are non-magical uses of mana, and (at least some kinds of) golem creation is one of them. Thus, it's possible to use mana without doing magic.

Non-Lorian beings and species (like the Atealans and Wargoth) wouldn't be able to use magic if they weren't on lore if they had to go through the process described in Magus Hansa's book. Thus, it's possible to practice magic without using mana (unless they have another mana source, or even generate their mana themselves like Warlic does). At any rate, one can use magic without using the Lorian Ley Lines.

Next, let me give you two more examples that might really confuse you. First, it's Eric Greydawn. His "spell" in the Finale of last years Thankstaking apparently wasn't magic.

Also, there is a clear difference between magic and science. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to fuse them together into magiscience (since then it would just be "magic" or "science"). This might seem obvious, but I find this fact to make this whole thing even more confusing.

So, what do you think? Have I missed something? Can you come up with a way to make all these facts fit together nicely? Is it even possible to define magic? Should it just be done on a case by case basis? Was my post so long that you didn't bother reading through it? Have you had enough of questions yet?
DF  Post #: 1
12/5/2017 12:03:52   
Silver Sky Magician


If Theano is to be believed, there are non-magical uses of mana, and (at least some kinds of) golem creation is one of them. Thus, it's possible to use mana without doing magic.

Now this just seems counterintuitive.

An interesting topic (not that the Rose is one for fine distinctions). I just want to say that if Greydawn's exploding flower petals weren't magic, then they must have been the best party trick of all time.
Epic  Post #: 2
12/5/2017 12:16:13   
DragonFable Boxcat

Follow the threads.
AQ MQ  Post #: 3
12/5/2017 12:39:18   

Mysterious Verly post is mysterious.

Well, after going through every mention of the word "thread" in the 'Pedia the last four years I have found three kinds of threads that Verly could be talking about. From least likely to most likely:

Soul threads. I have no idea how that would be related to this, so I'm pretty sure that he meant some other kind of thread.

Forum thread. Possibly. But I can't see any recent forum thread that he could be talking about, so I wouldn't bet on this.

Threads of Mana. Now, this seems like it could be it. Because threads of mana are mentioned in a certain book that the staff has hinted at very many times the last couple of months... That book, however, doesn't make anything more clear at this point. But, if I'm right with this, that means that that book is really important. I think we should try to find some meaning from it. Also, I'm not sure if Verly meant it will answer all our questions, or just that about Eric's strange powers...
DF  Post #: 4
12/5/2017 13:31:34   
Da Awesomancer

@Zekrom5 I wouldn't disregard Soul Threads so quickly, if I were you. If you look at the results of Envy removing the soul threads of various people, and effects of being drained by a Manaphage, both seem to have similarities, such as leaving the victims as empty husks.
This doesn't mean that they are exactly the same, but it does suggest that one's soul and the magic they have access to are at the very least related.
DF AQW  Post #: 5
12/5/2017 13:42:26   


while your initila post does cover MOST of the issues the rose has with their somewhat fragile definition of magic, you did forget two things, which severely hamper the validity of hansa's book:

forst and foremost, the magesterium. while what they dwar their mana from ins't exactly the core itself, it is a shard of the core, and very clearly functions differently from any ley line or nexus, as it overwrites their ability to use those completely.

the next, newer, and possibly even bigger revelation comes from a bit of a biology lesson from our old short pal of a digging persuasion: dwarves are almost literally born from the mana core itself, and thus have to be able to draw from it directly regularly to survive. this fact on its own more or lss proves hansa's book an obsolete source of information that simply can't be trusted on what magic is.
DF  Post #: 6
12/5/2017 13:58:07   

Well, Follow the Threads could mean a lot of meaning.

While it this might not be connected to it.
It could be possible that as Soulweavers, their magic is directly tied to the Plane of Elemental Spirits.
Since Belle wasn't affected by the "mana drain" of the manaphages and the Hero is canonically a Soulweaver too.
That might explain why the Belle and the Hero are "high-priority" targets by the Manaphages.

< Message edited by LouisCyphere -- 12/5/2017 14:02:23 >
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 7
12/5/2017 14:34:00   

About Kensai, I think that the petal thing can be one of his spiritual abilities. It might even be the spiritis themselves which are summoned by Kensai (not via magic, of course. Via his spiritual bond to that spiritual dimension) I think it was hinted once or twice that Kensai has such spirital powers like summoning via meditation or smt like that but I don't really remember where. It was probably on a book :/

There is also the thing that he fought Youkai (Evil spirit kinda things in Far-Eastern Cultures) in the past and therefore has some revelance to the spirits for sure. (And as far as I remember Eric was planning a youkai based saga after Rise of Nivalis)

Those are my leads and assumptions to what Kensai's mysterious powers might be.

< Message edited by xelessarx -- 12/5/2017 14:40:56 >
Post #: 8
12/5/2017 20:38:51   

In Lore, there appear to be several different classes of magic (?) use:

Ley line tapping:

Taking energy from Lore's ley lines to enable the casting of mana-heavy spells. Typical of most magic users. Seen in Hansa's book.
Uses mana.

Drawing from Mana Core:

Seen mainly in the magesters. As far as we know, this can only be done by humans if they are not drawing directly from the Core itself. Drawing from a shard of the Core, or from an ignominious, are the only ways this direct mana connection can be performed. A full Core-tap results in mana overload and death. Becoming a magester prevents you from using ley lines.
Uses mana.

Weaving classes:

Using the power of souls, soul threads, and Elemental Spirits to fight and create. The relationship between mana and souls is undocumented*. Elemental Spirits are souls that have gained affiliation with an element and specific virtue, but how this process occurs is unknown. What soul threads are is also a matter of speculation. Based on conjecture about the relationship between the Elements and mana, it seems plausible that Elemental Spirits also have a link to mana. Vitael is also a Mana SoulAlly, implying at the very least superficial connections.
Mana usage undetermined but plausible.


A combination of what appears to be relatively advanced technology and magic. Magic is used as merely a component of a working device, and not as the sole means to an end.
Uses mana.


Generates mana instead of consuming it. If he exceeds his body's limit, he manabreaks, splitting into the Infernal Wargoth and the human Professor.
Produces mana.


Use "Cosmic Energy." Do not draw from any Lore-based mana sources. Origin of Cosmic Energy is unknown at this time.
Unknown mana usage.


Appears to use some kind of mysticism. Claims abilities are "not magic." Could be linked to harnessing the power of the soul.
*If he is using his inner spirit to fuel his abilities, it could imply that souls are not directly linked with mana. ...Are we calling this Chi?
Does not use mana.


The Harvest approaches

I am the Reaper

Sing a song of Crows...
Post #: 9
12/5/2017 20:46:28   



Vitael is also a Mana SoulAlly,

when was that stated? we haven't even gotten word of god confirmation on what kind of elemental spirit vitael is.
DF  Post #: 10
12/5/2017 20:56:11   

I just made the assumption based on the colour of Belle's Soul Claws and some of Vitael's base characteristics. You know, the whole indigo/night sky vibe. I believe that is the general consensus anyway, sorry if I confused you.
Post #: 11
12/5/2017 21:05:37   


while you make a fair point, i would say it's still not enough concrete evidence to simply jump to conclusions with. at least, not before considering whatever alternatives might be likely as well. personally, i don't think it's something as simple as vitael being an elemental spirit of mana, since a nexus, which is stated to be a source of near-infinite mana, simply overclocked the manaphages, where as trying to drain from belle went straight past overclock, and overloaded them to the point that they blew up instantly. there's no way that belle just randomly has access to greater than near infinite mana to that degree, and if vitael was a spirit of mana, wouldn't the manaphages have targeted HIM first, since he would have effectively been pure mana himself? and that would have made him incredibly vulnerable to them as well due to him being a being of pure mana, which the phages feed off of.

as for ataelans, we have word of god that their magic is from cosmic energy, as opposed to mana, but so far we haven't gotten a specifically in-game explanation yet, so while we know they don't specifically use mana for their magic, we have absolutely no clue what they ACTUALLY use instead except that it's "space magic".
DF  Post #: 12
12/5/2017 22:46:45   

I agree that the Belle aspect is odd. Relating to cosmic energy, is the WOD that the Ataleans use no mana, or that the Ataleans use no Lore-based power? Important to clarify.
Post #: 13
12/5/2017 23:00:02   


i don'r remember the exact wordings, but it very heavily implied that they do not use mana for their magic, but CAN use it as a substitute, which is how they use magic on lore.
DF  Post #: 14
12/6/2017 1:08:12   
Fire alandry


and if vitael was a spirit of mana, wouldn't the manaphages have targeted HIM first, since he would have effectively been pure mana himself?

Well, I don't think that Aegis is made of Ice, Envy is made of Evil, Secundus is made of Fire... Anyway, I think that Vitael is the ES of something like anyone else, who also has connection to the area of mana in the PoES.
DF  Post #: 15
12/6/2017 1:42:40   

I always thought magic was bibbity Bobbitt boop
Post #: 16
12/6/2017 23:24:36   
Sakurai the Cursed


Relating to cosmic energy, is the WOD that the Ataleans use no mana, or that the Ataleans use no Lore-based power? Important to clarify.

i don'r remember the exact wordings, but it very heavily implied that they do not use mana for their magic, but CAN use it as a substitute, which is how they use magic on lore.


They [avatars] draw power from the elemental planes themselves, not the mana core. To need to draw from the core you have to be from the planet itself and be linked to it. Other beings can draw from it, they just aren't linked to it so if it goes out certain creature's that don't come from Lore wouldn't be affected at all.

I never said they couldn't, only that they don't NEED to. Anyone can draw from it, but only people native to Lore need to as that is their connection to magic. If they leave Lore they can then attempt to tap into another source of magic such as the Void or indirectly to an elemental plane.

[in regards to Atealans] Some sort of really strange and cosmic link. (Space itself) Not everyone needs mana to function, they can use it to supplement their own but some species have found how to draw power from other sources and have as much, if not more, power than those reliant on mana.

So basically, the Atealans still don't need to use mana, but they could draw from Lore's magical system (ley lines and nexuses) to do so if they wanted, perhaps with some learning required. It's also kind of implied that the hero learns to use cosmic energy, since he gave images of the hero using Atealan classes as representations of said "cosmic link."

< Message edited by Sakurai the Cursed -- 12/6/2017 23:29:28 >
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 17
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