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Andreah

Discussion -- Kinds of magical characters?

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I was idly thinking about the several magically themed characters I roleplay with, and it occurred to me there are four main kinds of magical origins they have. 

 

  1. There are those who are classical Magicians - They started life with no magical ability, but learned how to cast spells and access magical power through study and intellect, and could be considered scientists or engineers of magic. These ones are Magic for what they know. 
  2. There are those who have magical items.  A magical outfit, magical talismans, a font of power secreted away that is 'theirs', so on. These people are Magic for what they possess.
  3. Then there are those who are innately magic, either from birth/creation or from a transformative event. They have magic in their blood, soul, mind or body, but may not even understand how it works. They may be from another dimension (e.g. demons, etc.). These people are Magic for what they are.
  4. Then there  are those who can use magic granted to them by another sentient power with magic. The character may be the priest/priestess of a deity, or have a powerful friend or ally who allows them use of their power. These people are magical for who they know, or who knows them.

 

There's quite a lot of crossover and mixes. For instance, a demon with some innate magical power may come to our dimension, then expand their abilities through study and spellcasting, then create magical items to simplify or expand their spellcasting, or create enduring charms or spells (buffs), and then finally, achieve a connection to the Well of the Furies and become magic incarnate. 

 

So, is my basic list of four exhaustive? 

 

Are my admittedly short definitions accurate? 

 

How do your own magical characters fit into one or more of these categories?

Edited by Andreah
edit: because despite advanced degrees in math & stat, I still can't count to four.
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Hybrids... Hybrid types are also A Thing.

 

I'd look at a character like my own Ironhorse or Karnaim as an example of that. They're both sentient magic items. (Ironhorse is a Living Armor, so basically a golem. Karnie is the motive spirit of an aerial warship, animating its own figurehead.) As artifacts, they would be both innately magical things and an example of "granted power", having been enchanted by their respective creators. Something like an Animus Arcana might explain its origin in a similar way.... "I am a Spell. I'm made of magic! But it came from that Midnighter over here. She cast me. She's a sorceress." 

 

I'd wonder if most magician types weren't hybrids. too, by "City canon"... Supposedly mortal magicians from primal Earth are all descendants of the Mu to some degree. That makes them at least a little innately magical, though they may have to study to take advantage of it, putting them in your first set as well. My creepy Oranbegans are definitely in that camp... Being body-snatching arcane ghosts doesn't get them a pass on doing their homework. XD 

 

 

 

Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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On 12/12/2020 at 1:08 PM, Andreah said:

 

  1. There are those who are classical Magicians - They started life with no magical ability, but learned how to cast spells and access magical power through study and intellect, and could be considered scientists or engineers of magic. These ones are Magic for what they know. 
  2. There are those who have magical items.  A magical outfit, magical talismans, a font of power secreted away that is 'theirs', so on. These people are Magic for what they possess.
  3. Then there are those who are innately magic, either from birth/creation or from a transformative event. They have magic in their blood, soul, mind or body, but may not even understand how it works. They may be from another dimension (e.g. demons, etc.). These people are Magic for what they are.
  4. Then there  are those who can use magic granted to them by another sentient power with magic. The character may be the priest/priestess of a deity, or have a powerful friend or ally who allows them use of their power. These people are magical for who they know, or who knows them.

I think it is a really good list, but when I look at it to break it down and think about it.

2 and 4 seemed to be the same thing except a person instead of the object. Both would be relying upon a source for being magical versus innately being magical.

 

But then I started breaking down 1 and 4. Did the character in 1 learn magic from a mentor? Does that make it 4 because they have a mentor?

 

If 1 has a book of spells, does that make them 2 even if they wrote the book themselves?

 

My evaluation of your list would be

1) Studied Magic - know it

2) Possess a magical item - own it

3) Magical by Birth - am it

4) Magical by association - granted it

 

Elric pretty much has all that covered.

Studied magics, check. Has Stormbringer, check. Born a Melnibonéan, check. Summons and deals with spirits, elements, dragons, etc., check.

 

Stormbringer

Magical by birth/creation as far as we know. Not sure if Elric count as 2 or 4, but I would tend to count him as 2 because Stormbringer possesses him to kill his friends.

 

Dr Strange

Not born with it. Otherwise he has the others covered.

 

Too tired to go on, but great concept(s) to think about.

Thanks lot for posting, Andreah.

Should be good stuff floating around my head when I go into the Dream Lands.

 

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RAWzL2q.jpg

I figured Magic is the anti-thesis to Science, Science you can replicate according to a specific set of instructions; it's not a Science till you can reliably repeat it. Magic always struck me as the opposite, it's chaos and can't be proven with Science "It just works!" every cast of a spell should be different in some form or other; if you cast a spell and the outcome was exactly the same each time, then it's a Science.

My Robotic character is sentient but considers her sentience Magic because it's impossible for her to copy/replicate sentience, it just happened, it just is. She can't explain her sentience, thus it's not a proven Science, so, it's Magic! At least that's how I roll with it.

 

I think every character should have some mysticism else everything is Midichlorians and not 'The Force is all around us.'

Edited by Latex
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I guess my Magic Origin would fall into the “innately Magical” category in that it’s bloodline based.

 

Sadly, we actually had an ancestor murdered in the Salem Witch Trials, a one Samuel Wardwell. It’s a morbid joke among my family that we’re all witches and warlocks.

 

My Magic hero is an homage to my unfortunate ancestor.

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Hmm...I think it covers it? I only really have two true magical characters, Claudia was chosen by a magical artifact, and Blake is a Boyfriend From Hell who is really considerate, cute, and very domestic that a Crey researcher summoned after a rough breakup so innately magical.  The other magic-ish character I have is Zero Four and she's a daemon whose running a spell matrix OS on a runed magical substance chassis and eats magic so uh....god knows how to classify that 😄

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Hmm, one of my early magic characters was possessed by a spirit and all of their power was actually the spirit working through them. Would "medium" be a 5th type or would that count as type 4?

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I’d say my spellcasters fall into a Hybrid of 3 & 1. 

 

I tied spellcasting ‘races’ to not just learning the spells but having to be born into the race.( i.e. you can try and learn Witch spells, but, if you aren’t born with an affinity for that type of magic, either you won’t be able to cast the spells of a witch, or, at best, they’ll be egregiously watered down versions of the spell.) Also, you’d need to learn the spells, too. Except in the case of Warlocks(not male witches in my head. More WoW-esque), who don’t need to spend as much time learning spells.  And of course, creatures are well...creatures. 

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On 12/25/2020 at 5:39 PM, noxyoursox said:

Hmm, one of my early magic characters was possessed by a spirit and all of their power was actually the spirit working through them. Would "medium" be a 5th type or would that count as type 4?

 

Its a version of number four if you consider "granted it" to be "channel it". In this case the channel is unwilling but they are still the channel.

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I think your list has two competing ideas defining magic. 

 

Is it some kind of law of nature?

If it is, then your first item is exhaustive. There are two kinds of magical characters: those who understand it and those who don't.

On 12/13/2020 at 1:08 AM, Andreah said:

They started life with no magical ability, but learned how to cast spells and access magical power through study and intellect, and could be considered scientists or engineers of magic.

Magic becomes another branch of science and those who understand it call themselves a magician.

 

Is it some kind of ability to bend or break said rules of nature?

 

On 12/13/2020 at 1:08 AM, Andreah said:

There are those who have magical items...

 

Referring to your second point onward,  it seems the ability itself can be shared, transferred, inherited, bestowed, granted, or created. Unless there is an underlying rule on how it is created or transferred, judging from previous comments, creating an exhaustive list will be difficult. 

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well, if we are talking about game characters with the Paradigms.

 

Type 1

I have a character that "thematically" uses Tarot cards and potions along with learned magic.

A character that learned how to draw down the power of a constellation to empower him in battle.

An ancient Egyptian mystic that self-mummified  to prolong their life.

A character that trained in voodoo practices

 

Type 2

A character with power-enhancing gauntlets (well, they use some alien tech, but any science significantly advanced can appear to be magic)

A character with an enchanted trident, but they are Atlantean, so...

Characters that are of line of heroes that were granted mystical armor/cloth and an orbiting surveillance base by the Annunaki 

 

 

Type 3

Characters that were left behind from when the Winter World retreated from Paragon City. Obviously, innately magical. 

Some forest type elves, so as magical as elves are.

An Angel that always was an Angel.

Demons that were born demons.

Mystic wanders from the beginning of time that were innately magical.

Werewolves that were born werewolves. (Or Garou born as garou)

A Djinn

 

Type 4

A character that was bitten by a vampire; thus, became a vampire. (I think this one fits in 4?)

The classic "made a deal/exchange/barter with a devil"

 

So it looks like I tend to go with Type 1 and Type 4.

 

Maybe I need to make some more alts to balance out my mystic coverage.

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Clearly, Ultra, you need more alts! (Still not at 1000 yet!)

 

I think sufficiently advanced technology falls out of this scope, that what we have Super-Science and Super-Tech for.

 

Where I run into classification issues is the line between Magic and Natural. OK, victim of a curse, Type 4 magic (for liberal definitions of "granted.")

 

But isn't an angel simply using its Natural abilities? As in, created at the beginning of the universe by deity fiat. What could be more Natural?

 

I'm glad the origins have no greater effect on gameplay, or I'd be staying up nights trying to suss this stuff out!

Fun to think about, though! 

 


Disclaimer: Not a medical doctor. Do not take medical advice from Doctor Ditko. Also, not a physicist. Do not take advice on consensus reality from Doctor Ditko. But games? He used to pay his bills with games. (He's recovering well, thanks for asking!)

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18 hours ago, DoctorDitko said:

But isn't an angel simply using its Natural abilities? As in, created at the beginning of the universe by deity fiat. What could be more Natural?

That would make a Garou natural as well (versus a human bit by a werewolf). Same goes for a demon being born a demon. Elves being born elves. Fairies being born fairies. Dragon's being born Dragons.

All of these (maybe not dragons and elves in come cases), do seem to have some innate supernatural connection. That supernatural tending to be linked to mysticism and, and, therefore, magic.

 

On a tangent, at what point does martial arts training in THE CITY turn from physical training/conditioning potentially turn into something more?

Is kinetic assault just physical training/conditioning or does that become something akin to magic?

 

Of course, most of this has to do with the origin story/background/backstory of the character and less about the powers or archype picked.

Pretty much anyone with the Magic archetype is by default "magic", but can other archetypes claim to have magic powers?

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I suppose one would need to define what magic is, and draw a clean distinction between it and non-magical normality. Science, technology, and mutation all are representations of the natural world too, so if we parse the definition of "natural' too broadly, it takes us to a place that might make sense, but isn't useful.

 

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The definition from the game is "Your powers are tied to mystical or divine forces that you control."

"Divine" is pretty easy to further extrapolate for this game, since "gods" are all over the frickin' place.  Honestly, the world's lousy with 'em!  Not to mention the scads of extradimensional entities which could take up that moniker for themselves too.

"Mystical" is perhaps a little more ambiguous, and gives us more wiggle room.  But still, it kind of loops back around toward something quasi-religious in a lot of contexts.

 

Basically, you know the old saying "a wizard did it," yeah?

For City of Heroes, it's more like "the Well did it."

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On 1/13/2021 at 1:27 AM, Andreah said:

... draw a clean distinction between it and non-magical normality.

This thread piqued my interest, so let me try again. 

 

Thanks to Vile for pointing out the lore:

On 1/13/2021 at 5:35 AM, CrudeVileTerror said:

"Your powers are tied to mystical or divine forces that you control."

The lore defines magic as a force rather than a law of nature. So, this settles the definition of magic.

 

In my opinion, lore differentiates magic from others. The keyword here is the tie to supernatural beings (gods, deities, spirits, etc.) that someone can sever the link to nullify it. Natural origin, on the other hand, is an innate ability. 

 

Referring to DoctorDitko's question:

On 1/12/2021 at 3:48 AM, DoctorDitko said:

But isn't an angel simply using its Natural abilities? As in, created at the beginning of the universe by deity fiat. What could be more Natural?

When angels sever their ties to their deity (for example, they revolt), do they retain their power from that deity? If they do, then it's an innate ability(natural). Otherwise, their power is magical because their power relies on the link to its source (the deity). 

 

What do you guys think?

 

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Note:  It some myths, a celestial being's powers ARE innate, but the petty and jealous god either seals them away or removes them as a punishment.  That kind of muddy's the water for the distinction, but I'd argue that it's still Natural:  If said god needs to actively remove or suppress the abilities, then they're Natural.  If the mere absence of a connection to the god renders the Powers inert, then they're Magic.

Which means it's possible for a celestial being to not even -know- whether their Powers are Magic or Natural.

 

Then again, if the celestial being was specific created by the god in the first place, and all Powers initially originating from a godly source are Magical . . . *starts to chase Its own tentacles in circles*

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6 minutes ago, CrudeVileTerror said:

the celestial being was specific created by the god in the first place, and all Powers initially originating from a godly source are Magical . . .

The annoying part of magical power propagation is we would never know whether the link exists until we try to sever it. 


Oh! It turns out the Goddess gives all of her powers to you, which render my magical barrier moot. Uh, about cutting your head off? I was kidding, OK?

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I know some people try to distance themselves from CoH's lore, but, technically, EVERYONE is "Magic" origin to some degree. The only reason super powers exist in this world, from super science to advanced gadgets to people being able to naturally train themselves to superhuman heights to being born with that X-tra something special... is because Marcus Cole and Stephen Richter opened up Pandora's box (A magical relic) and unleashed all of humanity's latent potential. Humanity not only gained the benefit of 2,000+ years of progress in mere moments, but also re-learned all the old forgotten magics taught to us by the Old Gods.

Or maybe I'm misreading that bit of the lore, idk.

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One of my oddities is known by the name El Miercoles.  El Miercoles is a former professional wrestler who suffered a brain injury that's left him convinced that he really is the character he portrayed in the shows.  He's listed as Natural origin, but he can outrun cars and jump from rooftop to rooftop, simply because he believes he can.  So is he magical, or something else?

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With the way the setting is written, @Eoghnved?
"Yes-no."   Or "no-yes" if you prefer.

Ultimately, I think if the character is yours, you get to declare your own origin of power.  If that ends up being incongruous or incompatible with other players' views on the Origins, then it's just kind of the nature of the beast.  The canon is rather fluid and flexible.  I'm fairly sure that's by design.

Granted, if one interpretation of the lore doesn't cooperate with another, the players in question may need to evaluate the importance of interacting with one another against their personal belief in the integrity of the lore.

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