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 Magic, As written by Vees
SNStaff
 Posted: Sep 27 2016, 02:33 PM
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There are effectively three schools of magic on Storm Nexus.Mages on Storm Nexus may be talented, skilled, or both.

In a very basic sense, you might call pattern shaping “physical” magic, whereas perception is “sensory.” Meta magic is simply magic of any type which effects other magic, such as redirection or amplification.

Magic is very intensely personalized and variable on Storm Nexus. No two mages perform their magic in the same ways or through the same channels. As such, the Magecraft is one of the most loosely organized on Pern, with only one fairly small central craft hall and now auxiliary halls at all. For this reason, it is actually possible to reach the rank of Journeyman, or Adept, without ever studying at the hall itself, though Masters, or Adept Majors, must study at the crafthall.

The crafthall itself is located near it’s sister crafthall, the Smith hall. Because of it’s looser organization, the Magecraft is often considered not quite a “real” crafthall, and as such members of it follow a different, though equivalent, ranking schema:
  • Apprentice: Student
  • Senior Apprentice: Adept Minor
  • Journeyman: Adept
  • Master: Adept Major
  • Craft Specialty Master: Adept Primus*
  • Craftmaster: Arch Primus
*Because of the number of styles of magic, there is a rank between Master and Craftmaster, roughly equivalent to a Junior Craftmaster, for each of the three schools: the Adept Primus. The only comparable ranks are found in the fairly massive Smith, Harper and Healer halls, which have similar systems of specialization, such as Master Glassmith, Master Archivist or Master Surgical Healer.

It is worth noting that any technical information you may see regarding quantum physics is lost to the pernese. They simply do not have the background information, only the techniques. It is provided so that players may better understand the functions of magic on Storm Nexus.
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SNStaff
 Posted: Sep 27 2016, 02:34 PM
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Pattern Shaping


The most common and most spectacular type of magic is pattern shaping, the school of magic by which you alter the shared reality of your world through an exertion of your will. The existence of this school of magic is why the Smith and Mage crafthalls are considered sisters: both are based around the manipulation of the shared physical experience, though one is by will and energy while the other is through technological means.

Everything from a Dragon’s ability to go Between, to a Therioi’s shape shifting, to a Healer-mage’s ability to cure disease, to the conjuration of fire or lightning falls under this school.

The oddities that this magic can produce, in conjunction with now forgotten slang, have left many people without formal education in magecraft to refer to it as weirding, though the word can also be extended to any form of magic.

In a very technical sense, the pattern shaper accesses the quantum arrangement- or pattern- of a target object, such as an injured person, and alters the way various variables are processed. One pattern shaping healer might “delete” wounds, while others cause the body’s natural healing factors to increase exponentially, while still others target the patterns of diseases or toxins specifically and neutralize them. It is an infinitely individual style of magic, with few commonalities between mages, even if the outward effects appear similar or identical.

Most mages, to escape the laws of thermodynamics, are capable of pulling energy from distant sources such as the sun. However, there are those which lack this ability and are either constrained by thermodynamics, or must pull energy from nearby sources such as other living beings, which can cause considerable damage to the unfortunate source.

It is worth noting that Therioi shape shifting, while a type of Pattern Shaping in the technical sense, behaves in a very different way from the pattern shaping abilities of humans and ferali. You can find more about it in this post.
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SNStaff
 Posted: Sep 27 2016, 02:35 PM
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Second Sight


Second Sight is an umbrella term for all types of sensory magic, whether they involve seeing or not. The innate empathic abilities that allow Candidates to impress to dragons fall under this term as well.

From a technical perspective, it is somewhat similar to a very passive, but broader spectrum, form of pattern shaping. Those with talents in this school are capable of reading the pattern of various things and turning that information into something useable.

Included in Second Sight are gifts such as truthsensing and poison detection, and it is widely accepted that nearly all living beings have some gift for second sight to some minute degree, since it is effectively what allows anything to interact with anything else in physical rather than quantum reality. However, the most well known types of second sight are the perceptions of other realities, either future ones or alternate ones, or the ability to perceive things about ones own reality from a great distance. At lesser levels, this appears to be a form of intuition or empathy, and at higher levels can be regarded as a form of prophecy.

However, it is inherently limited by sentient existence. Much as an eye cannot see itself directly, but must use a mirror, a small part of any given reality cannot view the whole of that same reality, and indeed to do so would certainly cause a massive, traumatic disconnect of the mind from reality, resulting in death or vegetative state.
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SNStaff
 Posted: Sep 27 2016, 02:36 PM
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Meta-Magic


Metamagic is simply magic of either school which, rather than targetting some physical entity, targets other magic.

While it includes the exceedingly rare abilities to amplify, negate or redirect the magic of others, the primary skill in the school of metamagic involves communication with that which does not exist: the dead, animistic spirits, alternate realities, etc.

Because of a lack of any real information on how this functions, beyond that it appears to be some derivation of second sight, there is a lot of conflict regarding how legitimate these so called spirits are. Some contend that the spirits are nothing more than figments of the summoner’s mind, while others argue that they are projects of fundamental laws of reality given forms that sentient minds can comprehend.

This is both the smallest and most fiercely philosophical school of magic in all of pern, and it attracts many students who lack any talent at all, but who wish to analyze it in depth.
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SNStaff
 Posted: Sep 27 2016, 02:37 PM
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Talents and Skills


There are two ways a character can develop magic. The first is with a natural, inborn talent. A talent is simply a type of magic that the individual has always had. It is a part of them, just as brown hair or green eyes. In some cases, it is hard to control. In others, it is very subtle and weak. It would not be amiss to say that there are probably as many talents as there are sentient creatures simply because it is quite possible that all living beings have talents: they are simply too subtle and integral to be noticed.

Particularly powerful and noticeable talents, however, are often honed and strengthened, becoming skills.

Any characters, even one without a talent, can develop a magical skill through extremely rigorous training and study, an often Turns long process which requires considerable commitment and self analysis. Those who already have one talent are very unlikely to be able to develop an unrelated skill. Their bodies and minds are simply not capable of handling it.

For this reason, Therioi in particular very, very rarely show any magical aptitude outside their natural shape shifting ability.

In common parlance, a talent is something you are born with, and a skill is something you have earned.

There are a variety of common “types” of talent as skill, which we will discuss here. However, remember that there are as many talents as there are people, and not all of them can or will fall into this categories.

Shape Changing (non-Therioi)
    For humans and ferali, shape shifting is a rare and hard to develop talent, and even the greatest shape shifters of this type rarely learn more than one or two different forms
Paracognition
    Literally knowing of something that is happening “in parallel” with you without having any physical mode to know it. You might think of this as scrying or something similar. It comes in two particular styles: time and space. While cognition along the time axis seems at first more valuable, you must remember that the future, and indeed the past, are inherently probabalistic, and without considerable training and quite a bit of luck, it can be hard to sort failed-possibilities from actual events. In addition, because it is locked on your perception, you can only see events along the time axis which either involve yourself, or take place in your current location.

    On the other hand, the space axis allows one to see what ever is happening “now” in any location, with distance usually being a function of skill, but not necessarily so. This has useful applications both in the context of gathering intelligence, and in making probable judgements, as with training or talent, some individuals are capable of looking into the now of alternate dimensions. In dragons in particular, this manifests at lower levels as simply “knowing” something is happening without having any particular idea why.
Search Talent (dragons)
    Search talent is a very subtle and badly understoof magical talent on Pern, but it is known to be unique to dragons, and more prevalent in knights than any other caste. It is an unconscious talent, and the best any dragon has been able to describe it is by saying the candidate seemed brighter or lighter than others near by. Presumably, this is because their mind was naturally open enough for the dragon’s mind to sense the possibility of connection. Once in the immediate presence of this person, it is possible for search talented dragons to receive a gut impression of events on the space axis in other realities, and learn, in a very vague and insubstantial way, if that person had impressed already in other iterations of existence.
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SNStaff
 Posted: Sep 27 2016, 02:39 PM
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Therioi Pattern Shaping


Therioi, as mentioned above, are uniquely situated in terms of magic. All therioi are universally talented in the same type of magic: changing their physical shape. Though they must learn each new shape they wish to master separately by carefully studying the species they wish to become, once this is done the Therioi can essentially “build itself a new body” using the atoms and molecules of its existing body, pouring itself like putty into a new shape.

However, Therioi are impeded by the specificity of their talent. Changing their mass, while possible, requires study and commitment not unlike that of human or ferali mages learning a new skill, and not all Therioi are capable of it. So, for example, if a Therioi weighed some 200 pounds and measured about 6 feet tall, 200-some pounds attempted to shape change into a firelizard without knowing how to alter his mass, he would become a gigantic, 200 pound firelizard.

This kind of thing is avoided because not all small body plans are physically functional when made too much larger — or smaller, for that matter. No Therioi tries to become, say, a dragon or a fire-lizard without being a talented mass-changer as well as shape-changer.

Therioi that do learn to alter their mass significantly cannot “keep” mass produced this way in their natural shape. Once they return to it, the excess is released back into the environment, sometimes explosively if the degree of mass-change was particularly huge. This is why no one ever tries to become, say, a Queen dragon. The explosion produced by returning to your natural form would kill anyone nearby, and the amount of time it would take to reduce mass slowly and safely would make soul death very likely.

Soul death is a phenomenon in which a therioi “goes native” in a shape shifted form. Because of the completeness of therioi shape shifting, down to an alteration of instincts and physical drives, it is possible for one to lose their identity as a therioi and believe whole heartedly that they are a member of whatever species they appear to be. When the belief becomes solid enough, the therioi will even lose their pattern shaping talent, trapping themselves in what they perceive as their natural state.

This is why most Therioi do not have any other forms besides a convenient human and/or Ferali form; they fear losing themselves to the wilderness, prizing instead a balanced lifestyle which retains the freedom of wildness but also the benefits of civilization. At least if a therioi is trapped in the body of a human or ferali, it is fairly easy to communicate with them and remind them of what they really are. On the other hand, it is nearly impossible to awaken the memories of a therioi who has become a dog, or wherry, or a tree.

While Therioi are not limited to animate, or even living shapes, the risk of soul death increases with the distance of the shape from the natural sentient form of the therioi, and the alteration itself requires considerably more skill the more copmlex the changes are. As such, only both extremely skillful and vaguely suicidal therioi would attempt to become, say, a large rock.

When shapeshifted, a Therioi is absolutely indistinguishable from a natural member of the species into which it has changed. For cultural reasons, most therioi keep their natural eye shape and color, including their unusual, vertical pupils. This has lead to a pervasive belief among humans and ferali that therioi are incapable of changing the shape of their eyes. However, it is simply considered highly inappropriate for a therioi not to give a very obvious signal to those they interact with that they are not native members of the species.
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