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Cardverse Supplemental Worldbuilding

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:26 am
by pedromvilar
So! I have a few threads in the Cardcaptor Sakura universe and by and large we use canon worldbuilding but also by and large it's incomplete or just plain bad, so we've been supplementing and modifying bits of it as needed. Except we've reached the point where non-card magic is being explored, so we had to come up with something that fit the theme. This is that thing.

Sorcery
The magic system is called sorcery in universe, and people who practise it are called sorcerers, naturally. It's something you're born with, and genetic in a weird Harry Potterish way, with magical parents producing magical children but sometimes magical children being born of nonmagical parents. There are sorcerer clans, specialising in different kinds of magic and passing their knowledge on.

Mana
Sorcerers have a finite resource that's consumed when they perform magic which I'm gonna call mana. You start out with a certain amount of it and it doesn't change if you don't touch it. However, whenever you spend it to do magic, you recharge a little bit more than you used to have. So, for instance, if you had (say) 50 mana and spent (say) 5 on a spell, you'd recharge to (say) 55 instead of 50.

While you're actively doing magic it doesn't recharge, but doing anything other than that does. Variety of magical things makes your mana cap grow faster; each time you do a spell, your recharge pushes your mana cap a bit less than before - so, for example, if you do the spell above a second time you'll recharge to (say) 59 instead of 60.

If you try to do magic that costs more mana than you have it works but draws on environment magic and has unpredictable consequences, which get progressively worse the more negative your mana reserves go. The limit is not merely the death of the user, it can get quite catastrophic and destructive in addition to killing the user. You get useful magical feedback before actually performing the killing magic, it's not all trial and fatal error, you'll always know what you're about to do costs too much if it does. That's the only feedback you receive, though - if the magic you're about to perform won't send you into negatives you get nothing.

Mana is tied to "stamina," too: when you're low on it you get tired or sick more easily, need more food and more resting time, your mind wanders more, etc.

Affinity
People's magic has affinities to different kinds of concepts (explained below). In-thread, it has been shown that certain characters can have sun magic or moon magic, and this is a broad and rough version of this affinity. Doing magic you have more affinity for costs less and recharges more mana. Affinity isn't necessarily the obvious thing - Sadde has a broad sun affinity but also a strong affinity for shape changing magic which is moon magic.

Meditation and Senses
You can suss this sort of information out by meditating. Having magical artefacts you control around helps with this meditation, as does practice and having more mana. There are also magical senses that can be developed that way, allowing you to detect and understand magic (or at least its broad strokes) without meditating.

Sorcerers can also see certain magical effects nonmagical people can't, like the embodiment of certain Cards, magical auras, and ghosts. It's possible to use magic for fortune telling, and magical artefacts help with this (the Cards, for instance, can be spread tarot style).

Concepts
Most magic needs to call upon "concepts." They're tied together more or less like alethian witch goddesses are. There is a hierarchy of them, with the sun and the moon at the top and various other concepts at the bottom. You can call upon parent concepts to perform magic with subconcepts, which makes magic more powerful but more mana-intensive and can sometimes include other unwanted effects.

Will
The most basic expression of magical aptitude is merely the application of one's will on reality. This is typically not very costly, effective, or useful, and tends to not even be fully under the sorcerer's control.

Spells
Next up are spells, which involve actually calling upon the concepts. All one needs to do is declare intent out loud, call upon a concept, and spend mana. The longer and more complex the declaration, the more control over and power behind the magic you can have. An example of a spell would be something like "I call upon the sun, the soul of fire, the thunder god, smite my enemy and turn them to ashes, direct lighting for me!" The exact phrasing doesn't matter, as long as the idea and the intent are there. It has to be on a language you can actually speak, however, just repeating some sentence you read online won't work. If you're only partially fluent in the language you're using your spells will be proportionally weaker. Additionally, just making a chant very long isn't enough, because it has to be loosely nonredundant. You can call upon various different and loosely connected concepts, or ask them for different things, or detail your request arbitrarily, but just repeating the same sentence several times doth not a good spell make.

But even the most elaborately chanted spell has limits to how much power you can channel. It's typical to "prepare" a spell in advance by creating a focus for it. A focus is nothing more than an object engraved with "part of a spell." Since material and method of engraving don't actually matter, most foci are just paper with something written on them (think Japanese "paper seals" à la Naruto). To create a focus, you mark it with part of a spell, either symbols or words or phrases, and dump mana into it by an act of will. Then, when you want to cast a spell, you can use the focus to reduce how much mana you spend at the time of casting and create much more powerful effects. Once a focus is used for a spell, it's consumed and destroyed.

There's a tradeoff between generality and usefulness. You can create a focus with the word "sun" or a drawing of the sun on it, and it can be used to aid in the casting of any sun spells, but it'll be less useful and powerful at helping you cast a thunder spell than a focus with the word "thunder" on it would be. You can charge a focus with mana indefinitely, and that'll make it more powerful for spells it's used for, but there are diminishing returns there, too. Foci, while they haven't been used, can have magical properties in their own right, albeit less powerful than artefacts.

Rituals and Magical Artefacts
You can imbue objects with persistent magical properties or create magical artefacts and constructs with a ritual. To set one up, you need to create several foci, including one that's to be the "ritual circle": a circle with several symbols on it, large enough to contain all the objects and people involved in the ritual. A chant describing all the desired properties of the created or enchanted thing must be composed, calling upon all involved concepts at all hierarchy levels. Furthermore, aspects like geographical location, time of year, and time of day are also used in a ritual. A ritual can fail if it doesn't contain a sufficient number of references to the various concepts it's calling upon, or if its chant is not good enough, or vague stuff like that. When a ritual fails, it consumes the foci and mana and doesn't actually produce the desired effect.

Furthermore, a ritual consumes the mana it does "permanently." That is, after you perform a ritual, you don't recharge, whatever the amount of mana you have left at that point is your new cap, and you'll have to start building up from there. Consequently, if you ritual yourself to zero mana you lose your magic (and also any new children you have will most likely be magicless). More than one person can help perform a ritual. Any steps can be performed by any sorcerer, and as long as you've performed at least one step of a ritual you'll sacrifice an equal portion of your magic to everyone else who participated.

Examples of things created by rituals are the Clow Cards, the Clow Book, the Key of the Seal, and Kero. It's possible to create a ritual that would give someone mana and turn them into a sorcerer but the conversion rate is abysmal (at least 100:1) and this ritual has not been discovered yet.

The Clow Cards
Clow Reed was a very powerful English sorcerer who created a very large ritual involving everything known to sorcery to unify it into the Clow Cards. Those cards are magic made solid, and they don't behave quite like regular sorcery. For one, using them doesn't spend any mana, it "occupies" it. That is, if you have (say) 50 mana and you use a certain card, while it's active you effectively have (say) 40 mana, but as soon as you dispel it you return to your original 50. If you try to use a card, you can only get it to act in ways that "fit" inside your mana cap - for example, the Time card is one of the most mana-occupying cards, and stopping time for even as little as a minute requires a huge cap.

Since using cards counts as performing magic, however, your mana cap does grow by doing that. It does so more slowly than performing actual spells, but it's not nothing. Capturing a card gives you a significant boost to mana cap (relatively speaking), as does figuring out new ways to use cards. Accepting a contract with the Key of the Seal ties your mana reserves to it and makes it both easier to perform magic with the staff and harder to do it without it. It's possible to break this contract, at the cost of losing the instinctive connection to the cards you get and the boost to your mana that owning the key/staff gives you.

Re: Cardverse Supplementary Worldbuilding

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:30 am
by Kappa
this is good nifty worldbuilding and i like it

Re: Cardverse Supplementary Worldbuilding

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:31 pm
by Timepoof
Me too :)

Re: Cardverse Supplemental Worldbuilding

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:19 pm
by pedromvilar
Odds & ends & maths!
  • It takes exactly eight hours to fully recharge your mana, no matter how much of it you have, so the more you do the higher your recharge rate is. Sleeping, eating, or anything like that doesn't affect recharge rate;
  • Your mana is constantly recharging, unless a spell is currently active. Instantaneous spells (like conjuring stuff) barely pause mana recharge, but a spell that has a duration (like flight) will pause your mana recharge for as long as it lasts. You can have more than one spell active at a time, and for as long as you have at least one active you don't recharge;
  • All types of magic have a mana cost that's an integer multiple of the cost of making a focus for "sun" or "moon" (or any representations thereof). If the way a spell is built would naively make it cost a noninteger amount of mana, the mana actually used is that value rounded up, so it's possible for different spells with different (but close) power levels to have the same mana cost;
  • When you perform a specific indivisible spell for the first time, your new mana cap is old value plus that spell's cost. Each time a spell is cast, it adds half the previous value it did to the mana cap, rounded down, until it reaches 0 and doesn't add any more mana;
  • Spells of a kind you have affinity with work a little bit differently - they cost 75% of their usual value, and add 125% of it to the mana cap;
  • A spell that's made of many individual pieces that are each, separately, spells in their own right will have its mana cost calculated recursively: if there are 5 different independent parts making up a spell, it costs the cost of the first, plus 0.9 times the cost of the second, plus 0.9*0.9 = 0.81 times the cost of the third, plus 0.9*0.9*0.9 = 0.729 times the cost of the fourth, plus 0.9*0.9*0.9*0.9 = 0.6561 times the cost of the fifth, always rounded up. The effect of each new bit is calculated similarly, but with a 1.1 multiplier rather than a 0.9. Furthermore, when it comes to calculating the extra mana added to the cap by one such spell, each bit is computed individually. So, for example, if you have a spell that's made of two bits that each cost 10 mana, it costs 19 mana and its effect is the effect of the first bit plus 1.1 times the effect of the second bit. Furthermore, if you've used the first bit enough that using it more only gives you 1 extra mana but never used the second bit, using this spell gives your cap an 11 mana boost (1 for the first bit, 10 for the second);
  • When you attach to an indivisible spell pieces that aren't in themselves spells you create a completely new indivisible spell;
  • The more specific you are in a spell, the more it costs. More precisely, you can, in fact, design a spell that says "Do X for Y hours." This will, however, be much more expensive mana-wise than a spell that would do X for Y hours naturally without referencing the time specifically. Some effects might be much harder than others to actually obtain without doing this, however;
  • Creating a focus has a constant mana cost, and then using that focus on a spell deducts half that cost (rounded up) from the spell it's used in;
  • After a focus has been created, you can start dumping mana on it to make spells that use it cost less and be even more powerful. Once again, the amount of mana stored in a focus makes a spell cost less half that amount. Dumping mana into a focus is lossy, and obeys an exponential with a constant proportional to the original cost of the focus, such that after you've stored that much extra mana in the focus the next mana point costs two mana. More precisely, if there's X mana stored in a focus that cost N to cast in the first place, then to store another single mana point in the focus you need to dump 2^(X/N) mana into it.

Re: Cardverse Supplemental Worldbuilding

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:58 pm
by pedromvilar
Magic Society
There isn't much of one.

The basic unit of magic society is the sorcerer clan, which is a large extended family of sorcerers. They tend to be somewhat isolationist, marrying second cousins and not allowing members to have children outside the clan. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that, as a general rule, a child of at least one nonmagical parent will be nonmagical; magical children can happen when the parents are nonmagical, as our threaded examples prove, but sorcerer-muggle (the term isn't actually used there) couples aren't any more likely than muggle-muggle couples to have magical children, while sorcerer-sorcerer children will invariably be magical. The second reason is affinity, which is passed from the parents to the children, when the parents are magical, but only if both parents have that affinity. In addition to those, people sometimes can be born with some other affinities, typically personality-based, and those are of course the only ones magical children of nonmagical parents get. The third reason is to protect their trade secrets - sorcerer clans tend to specialise around their common affinities and create various rituals and artefacts about them.

The clans vary wildly in specialisation and affinities, and they don't interact much except to trade for useful/interesting artefacts. Given that non-ritual non-artefact magic is, in general, pretty crappy, and that clans are very old-fashioned social structures, there isn't a whole lot of R&D going on. Regular, focus-based spells are typically used to ramp up one's mana until they can reach a point where they can usefully create artefacts, and that's it. Clow Reed's comparative advantage, in addition to having two clans' worth of tradition behind his back, was that he was ridiculously creative and persistent, and would perform magic almost all the time in a myriad different ways to continue getting more and more mana and building up his power, until he was powerful enough to create the cards and become the next best thing to immortal.