Dissonance

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Dissonance

Postby pedromvilar » Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:50 am

So, Erin and I started a Ouran High School Host Club thread... with magic~! And here's the magic.

The magic has Principles. These Principles can be set to other things via a complex ritual involving a lot of magic and users of all of them. The last time this was successfully accomplished was in the Middle Ages, and the people who set it up set the seven heavenly virtues as the Principles: chastity, charity, humility, kindness, temperance, patience, and diligence. Their opposites, then, are lust, greed, pride, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

When you act in accordance with the Principles, you start storing harmonic magic. When you act contrary to them (in accordance with their opposites), you gain dissonant magic. It is possible to have stores of both by acting in accordance with some Principles and contrary to others, but if you act in accordance with a Principle and then act against it (or vice-versa) you lose the magic you gained in the first place, so most people have approximately no magic stored, on average. Moreover, even the people that do have magic have a real hard time noticing it. It's like Tom Cruise's middle tooth: most people will never realise he has a middle tooth until they are told, and then they will never be able to fail to notice it, but some people notice the tooth all on their own. It is of course much harder to notice than that, so the vast majority of people just won't notice it. After noticing it, though, you'll be able to direct your actions to be more effective at gathering magic, and you'll be able to know when other places/people are using this magic or have had it used on them.

The stores of magic are fuzzy and not really numeric; they work more like the magic owing you favours than like some quantity you spend to do stuff. If you are very harmonious/dissonant, you can pull off bigger things, and that does deplete some of your magic store but not in an altogether fixed and easily measurable way. If the magic "trusts" you particularly, you can even pull off stuff that's way bigger than what you'd strictly be able to do, but if you do that and then stop acting relevantly harmoniously/dissonantly then magic feels cheated and you'll have a hard time rebuilding your magic later.

The kinds of effects you can achieve are more based on the #aesthetic than a specific list of things. There are some things you can achieve via both harmonious and dissonant magic, and some things only one of those can do. As an example, suppose you have a bouquet of 100 red flowers and 1 blue flower. You can easily use harmonic magic to turn the blue flower red to fit its surroundings, or a bit less easily use harmonic magic to turn the red flowers blue. You can't turn them altogether different colours, though. If you use dissonant magic, however, you can in fact turn the bouquet into a rainbow of colours, or turn them blue-and-red, but you can't ever turn all of them a single colour - although if you're clever you can turn all but one of them blue. The relevant #aesthetic for harmonic magic is enhancement, improvement, equality, coherence, reinforcement, maintenance; the relevant #aesthetic for dissonant magic is change, breakage, chaos, decoherence, contradiction. There is probably something akin to "moving your pain from left to right" associated with using/noticing the magic but Erin and I haven't been able to come up with anything like that yet.

Magic is secret, and it's mostly only the elite of the elite keeping it, the rich and famous who apply it to secure their success. It's easier to apply magic to processes than to end results - in other words, making sure a cake you're baking comes out delicious is easier than getting a cake and then trying to make it tastier - and the families that know of magic often apply it on themselves and their children as they grow up, making it more likely for them to turn out pretty, smart, athletic, sociable, etc. It's also easier to apply magic if you're more specific about what it's affecting and if you know more about your target - a doctor would have an easier time using magic to kill a disease because they can target better, it's easier to do magic to objects than people because objects are simpler, it's easier to do magic to yourself than others because you know yourself better.

~Fin
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Re: Dissonance

Postby DanielH » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:51 am

That is an interesting magic system, and it makes some things in the thread make more sense, but my strongest immediate reaction was, “Wait, Tom Cruise has a middle tooth?!”.
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Re: Dissonance

Postby Kappa » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:00 am

As far as I know, Tom Cruise has the normal number of teeth in the normal order, but they're noticeably off-center in his face, so if you google a picture of him smiling, you'll be able to see that instead of having the usual "two front teeth" he has one tooth dead center under his nose. It's unsettling.
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Re: Dissonance

Postby DanielH » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:34 pm

Yeah, that’s the conclusion I got from an image search.

Can you give more details about why most people have no net magic? It seems like if you are unbalanced in even one of the virtue-vice pairs, you would have some magic from that. Or does even a single act of (eg.) chastity negate all the dissonant magic you have stored from being lustful?
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Re: Dissonance

Postby pedromvilar » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:47 pm

It's not as extreme as that, you don't have to become a Materia nymph or lose all your lust-derived magic, but like, if you're working on X and then do not-X you lose more X-aligned magic than you would have gained not-X magic in case you were working on not-X. And most actions that could be loosely characterised as being harmonious/dissonant with a Principle are not enough to give you a lot of magic anyway so you do have to be the equivalent of the school slut in any given Principle/counter-Principle to reliably get magic from it.

I think the best way to analogise is going back to the description of magic being "favours" you're owed. If the magic thinks you're flakey/doesn't trust you to consistently "hold up your end of the bargain" then it'll only very reluctantly give you stuff and be eager to take it back, you have to sorta prove yourself. And most people are within that grey zone in their life, where they do enough of a Principle and its counter-Principle during life that they end up at most getting a bounded amount of magic in one direction.
Last edited by pedromvilar on Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dissonance

Postby Alicorn » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:17 pm

I like this system!
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Re: Dissonance

Postby pedromvilar » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:43 am

<3

I kinda have an itch to adapt it to other worlds; it's sufficiently versatile that it could work with wildly different cultures and Principles.
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Re: Dissonance

Postby ErinFlight » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:31 pm

You should do it! Do you have any specific ones in mind?
I'd love to see it following things other than the 7 catholic vices/virtues.
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Re: Dissonance

Postby DanielH » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:44 pm

Is it easier to use magic in support of the Principle you use to get that kind of magic, or not? For example, suppose I get harmonic magic from kindness. As seen, harmonic magic can be used to dry clothing; would it be easier for me to dry somebody else’s clothing if they had just come in from the rain, or to dry my own clothing? If for some reason they wanted wet clotting, would it be harder for me to dry it?

In the favors metaphor, is magic more willing to help you out if what it’s helping with would count as a favor to it?
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Re: Dissonance

Postby pedromvilar » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:21 am

I forgot to answer this and it got buried. The favours metaphor you suggested is apt: you still do spend net magic when you're doing a magic thing no matter how aligned/misaligned with a Principle it is, but much less than doing other things that aren't that.

Also: guess who's applying this magic system to Amenta~

ETA: guess who applied this magic system to Amenta~
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