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Author Topic: Midkemia Encyclopedia of Thaumaturgy  (Read 2109 times)

Namergon

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Midkemia Encyclopedia of Thaumaturgy
« on: September 08, 2004, 08:24:48 PM »

Hi all,

some time ago, I opened a topic (on the previous forum) about magic in Midkemia. I was interested in what kind of magic was possible/observed in the novels of R. Feist involving Midkemia.

here what I gathered so far :

profane magic

- elf magic: weavers use subtle magic that affect environment and people in that environment. No flashy magic, instead long term effects.
- "minor" magic: most magicians in Midkemia can cast a lot of spells, but none of them can affect something else than the caster him/herself. Unless a focus is used. Focus are objects used to channel magic from the magician to the "outside world". They can be scrolls, amulets, rings, staves, crystal balls, and so on.
- "major" magic: Pug is the obvious example of this kind of magician. Only a handful of magicians seem to be of such a category.
- "gifts": in the novel Silverthorn, it seems that some people are "gifted" with some magical talents. William can instinctively communicate with animals, for instance. Other observed gifts are telepathy, divination, ?

Holy magic

- priest rituals: this magic is performed by priests of various obediences. Their power is granted by their faith/god, and mastered through study, devotion and experience. This magic generally takes the form of rituals requesting often more time than profane magic spell casting, and leaves the priest quite exhausted (although the observed effects are also quite high-level).
- Relics: objects can be blessed with some "holy power", giving the object some supernatural properties. These objects are often relics (like the hammer in the Ishap library).


"dark mojo"

I put here all the kind of magic used by Murmandamus and his allies. The limits and rules of this magic are still quite fuzzy to me, probalby due to the involvement of the Ennemy.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2004, 08:26:41 PM by Namergon »
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The Wolf

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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2004, 10:05:55 PM »

Children’s Magic
A magician may perform for young children parties, homes, schools, or theaters. They usually wear colorful robes and perform in colorful environments. Magicians usually have children participate in the show and have their audience join in on saying the "magic words."

Close Up Magic
Close up magicians usually perform for small audiences. Their props are usually stuff that you find in your pockets. Professionals may perform in restraints, moving from table to table doing the same short trick for tips. Magicians usually chat and make jokes during the act.

Stand Up Magic
Stand up, magic is the kind you might often see. Magicians perform on stage or on television. Acts are usually funny and elaborate equipment . Magicians might ask for an assistant to add variety.

Silent Magic
Silent magic is rarely done in complete silence, acts are usually done with music. Costumes are very important to them, so are their equipment, gestures, and expressions. Since they don’t talk, equipment, gestures, and expressions are their "voices." It takes the most talented magician to do a great silent act.

Illusions
Illusions are "impossible" feats with living things. You might know some such as, making an elephant disappear or making a person float or even the sawing the man in half. This requires large and expensive equipment . Performers may need to be well established before they can afford to do some of their acts.

Escapology
Escapology involves escaping from all kinds of bonds and positions. Performers must be fit, flexible, and have a lot of nerve. Some acts may be VERY dangerous. Performers usually have to "magically" untie themselves in a certain amount of time.

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Darkon

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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2004, 08:37:02 AM »

*wonders why this is in the midkemian gaming section*
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The Wolf

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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2004, 01:07:27 PM »

Good point Darkon I moved it to the Feist Forum  :neutral:
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Namergon

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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2004, 06:53:38 PM »

The Wolf : how does your list relate to Feist novels whose action is in Midkemia ?

Darkon : I posted this topic in Midkemian gaming section because of the purpose of this encyclopedia is to play a table game with some friends of mine. It was obvious in the topic in the former forum, I forgot to put the setup again in this new topic. Sorry.

But never mind, I'm also ok with the topic being here.
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The Wolf

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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2004, 11:23:38 PM »

Think of our friend with the oranges  :smile:
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William Ward

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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2005, 10:45:49 AM »

There is no magic.
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Namergon

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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2005, 02:34:01 PM »

Ok, I'm reviving this topic, rewording a bit my first post so that it is more in line with original novels' wording (I've only read the French versions so I didn't know quite well the English terms used for some important concepts used in the novels), and my point clearer.

Here is a short list of the main "magical traditions" I've read about in the Riftwar Saga. I would like to define them the best and possibly add to the list traditions depicted in other Raymond Feist's novels (whose story happens in Midkemia) that I've not read yet.

Here what I gathered so far :

Profane Magic

- elf magic:
Weavers use subtle magic that affect environment and people in that environment. No flashy magic, instead long term effects. I would be interested in any specifics about
.the way they "weave" magic
.what can/can't they achieve with these spells
.the range of time needed for an "average" spell
.the minimum number of weavers required to weave a spell
.an idea of duration/range of such spells

- So-called "Lesser Path" magic:
Most magicians in Midkemia seem to be part of this tradition. This tradition seems to allow a magician to cast a variety of spells that sound familiar to medfan fans, but with the specific limitation that none of them can affect something else than the caster him/herself. Unless a "material focus" is used. Material focus are objects used to channel magic from the magician to the "outside world". They can be scrolls, amulets, rings, staves, crystal balls, and so on. I would be interested in any specifics about
.the relation, if any, between the type of spell and the type of material focus required. 'type of spell' here refers not only to things like 'combat spell' or 'healing spell' or 'divination spell', but also to things like 'spell affecting 1 target only' 'affects a large area', or 'spell has a long range/duration', and so on.
.the kind of magic a "Lesser Path" magician can't do, whatever her power, the artefact used, and so on. i.e. the "gamut"/limits of this tradition.
.the kind of enchantment, if any, that a Lesser Path magician is able to craft. I already "know" that they probably are able to craft the necessary artefacts they use as material foci. But maybe I'm wrong and a novel may describe some kind of enchanter responsible for the existence of most material foci, or some kind of material foci.

- So-called "Greater Path" magic:
Great Ones from Kelewan are the obvious examples of this kind of magician. Only a handful of this kind of magicians seem to remain in Midkemia, for historical reasons. The kind of magic I've read about range from raw elemental demonstrations/blasts, direct offensive magic, magic barriers, psychometry (divining of past events tied to a location or an object), telepathy/mind/truth probing. However, these observations are mainly based on the Empire's trilogy novels. It is not clear what are the limits of this tradition. It seems that the Great Ones needed Lesser Path magicians to craft their transfer motifs, that would imply that Great Path magicians might be unable to perform any enchantment nor any durable magic. I would be very interested on specifics about
.things confirming/infirming this theory
.what kind of "spells" are (im)possible (the distinction between what Pug has to do using Lesser Path magic and what he can do using Greater PAth magic is really fuzzy)
.what can/can't do a Great Path magician in general.

- "gifts":
In the novel Silverthorn, are introduced characters "gifted" with some magical talents. William can instinctively communicate with animals, for instance. Other observed gifts are telepathy, divination, ? I'm note sure wether these "gifts" are manifestations of not (yet) trained Lesser Path magicians or a kind of magic on its own. I nthe meantime I learn more on that, I put it as its own category.

Holy magic

- priest rituals:
Priests of various obediences are depicted while performing various holy rituals to obtain some "magical/miracle effect". Their power is granted by their faith/god, and mastered through study, devotion and experience. This magic generally takes the form of rituals requesting often a lot more time to take effect than profane magic spell casting, and leaves the priest quite exhausted (although the observed effects are also quite high-powered). What is unclear is wether the actual effect is purely a manifestation of the god praised (or some of its subordinate), in this case the priest is only a vector of this power (and all this power channeling through him is what is exhausting, along with the zealot energy that he has to deploy to have the "mystic experience"). Or if the priest is granted some magical capabilities, with a "psychological lock" that makes him use this power only in service of his god and his god's precepts. Wether this power is granted by the divinity or not being another topic.

- Relics:
Objects can be blessed with some "holy power", giving the object some supernatural properties described in the novels. These objects are often relics (like the hammer in the Ishap library). What I didn't catch is: are these relics supposed to be somehow blessed by a divine creature, by a priest (through some ritual), or by some "history imprint" thanks to the zeal of numerous followers. If one consider that the priests' powers come from themselves (they are magic practitionners whose tradition impose to tie their powers to their beliefs), then would these relics be the result of some enchantment (whose method is specific to this tradition)?


"daaaark magic"
Here I would put all the kind of magic used by Murmandamus and his allies. The limits and rules of this magic are still quite fuzzy to me, probalby due to the involvement of the Ennemy. Probably with more information/understanding of what is involved here, I would rather place this magic in profane or divine categories, or a mix of both.
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spiralx

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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2005, 04:08:39 PM »

I would suggest that the difference between Lesser and Greater path magic is that Lesser Path magic is based around a subtle manipulation of the natural world whereas Greater Path magic is based around more gross violations of nature. The focus required for Lesser Path magic would then be a way of keeping the magic "in tune" with nature i.e. sympathetic magic.

Spellweaving seems like it embraces a deeper understanding of magic to manipulate reality in a way that doesn't require this sort of limitation - it would supercede Lesser or Greater Path magic. This is what creatures like dragons would use, and magicians like Nakor and Macross as well, even if they weren't taught it by the elves - spellweaving I'd say is just their term for how they do magic rather than it being unique to them.

Priestly magic would seem to be channeled from the priest's diety hence various priests having limitations on their capabilities depending on who they worship. As such it is again different from the Lesser/Greater dichotomy.

I also think that rituals apply to all of these forms of magic, and involve spending much more time and effort in the casting to gain a greater effect.

The necromatic magic in the book would seem to be linked to Lesser Path magic in a lot of ways - blood sacrifice replacing the focus of the spell. A lot of it is also ritual magic which would take a lot of time. None of the practitioners of this in the books seem to be priests in the usual sense.
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Liallan

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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2006, 01:41:13 AM »

Ressurecting a prehistoric thread that I found rather interesting...

Anyway, here are my two cents....

Let's return to the concept of 'There is no magic'. Basically, the idea is that the universe consists of a 'powder', or 'stuff', or 'fabric' whatever you call it, that is in the essence of all things. This 'powder' is what can be manipulated by people with the knack, I stress this, THE KNACK to do so, aka 'magicians'. Similarly, someone might have the knack to move with stealth, or be an excellent swordsman (if trained), or have an ear for music, but while these are physical qualities, the predisposition to manipulate the essence of the universe is an intellectual quality, and a very rare one - rare enough that no one of the common people knows how it works and has come to view it as something unnatural -----> magical.
Still with me?
So this predisposition is possibly something that a person is born with or is developed later (that is unclear), and then it has to be mastered, otherwise the person would have scant control of it.

Back to the 'knack' concept. If we accept this, then the ability to talk to animals, the gift of foresight, divination, telepathy, etc. etc., all can be dismissed as knacks.

To lesser and greater magic...
[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]...there is no truth to our concept of there being many paths of magic. All is magic. Only the limits of the practitioner dictate what path is followed.[/quote] - Pug, A Darkness at Sethanon.
So, depending on what one makes of that quote....
The limits... We can assume that the particular limits of a magician are determined by his/her cast of mind, that only a particular disposition enables a man to practice 'greater' magic, which, considering the mention of 'limits', is indeed the greater kind. (Also, while we have known several 'greater path' magicians to practice both kinds of magic, we've never heard of a 'lesser path' who all of sudden managed to do a 'greater path' spell. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

On the topic of the particular spells of both paths (which, as we know know, don't exist); I second the opinion that greater magic tends to be more drastic and powerful, and being able to violate many more laws than 'normal' magic. Greater path magic seems to be mostly about changing the physical laws of the universe, such as accelerating the passing of time (Silverthorn, time trap episode), teleporting from one spot to the next, and changing the laws is basically what constructing barriers is all about (e.g. when someone shoots a fireball at you and you shape the energy to deflect the fire, rather than remain passive.
However, what Namergon said...
[!--quoteo--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]The kind of magic I've read about range from raw elemental demonstrations/blasts[/quote]
Is somewhat shrouded in the books. While there has definitely been, as you say, display of raw elemental energy, such as at the Imperial Games, it has also been mentioned that normally Lesser Path magicians are the ones more capable of elemental magic. (A fresher example is that in Exile's Return, when the forest is on fire, Pug is unable to summon rain and says something about how long it's been since he practiced elemental magic.) The only explanation I can find is that every magician is unique and some lesser paths are more disposed to elemental magic while others are completely incapable of it.
Also, I find the whole idea with lesser paths having to use something to focus on.... out-moded? Remember those teachings were back from the start of 'Magician', when they didn't even know there were more potentials to magic. I haven't got any solid proof for this, but it seems that there are only a handful of people on Midkemia who are greater paths, and still about every magician you encounter seems to be able to do things without an external focus.

*glances up and eyes pop out*
Ugh... Long post. Hope you'll forgive me, I tend to get serious at times.  
Magic is something one could ask Feist to specify in one of the interviews...
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Dacilion

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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2006, 05:22:30 PM »

As basically any "magic" is fiddling with the ordering of the universe, you could always try to reason out which "branch of magic" has to do with the various physics force (weak, strong, what else...) and which dabbles with natural phenomena.

Sounds a bit like the difference between quantum (greater path) and relativistic physics (lesser path)

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