Possible Rune Magic Re-write

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Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:58 pm

Spellcraft, as a rule, is orderly. You will for it to be a gout of flame, provide the necessary mana, and vent the necessary amount of feedback, and it is a gout of flame.

Runes are a startlingly chaotic form of magery however. They begin merely with a symbol of power, but where does that "power" come from? Mana is the fuel as always, but the "power" comes from the will of the symbol itself, the inscription being an extension of the crafter's "self".

Thusly two things can be said to be inalienable tenants of the craft.

1): Practitioners have an unusually strong willpower. (That is to say, all spells require a will to shape the spell, and the force of that will does not matter if the end result is clearly defined. Whereas here the force with which one forces their will, or their own personal reality as one might describe it, onto the rune is the main factor in the quality of the end result.)

2): Because the crafting of a rune is forcing one's PERSONAL reality onto said inscription, It is functionally impossible for someone to learn a specific set of runes from another person and have them operate identically. (This is because the symbol is created by the crafter as an expression of their self. As all people are different, their "self" and "will" are different as well.)




Despite no two sets of Rune users having the same runes, the effects are largely identical. A single symbol is associated with a single force, with no exceptions. To this effect, Runes with similar forces are possible. "Combustion", "Exothermic", and "Hot"would all be entirely separate concepts, and thus a person would have entirely separate Runes for them. But when properly combined with say "Oxygen" and "Push", "Fling", or any other similar effect by concept, one could create a fireball like any other mage could, merely by passing mana through the set of runes.

Everyone's concept of "push" is different, the force is different, their personal reality of the concept of pushing an object may have more or less force associated with it than another's, and how strongly they can impart this will also changes the outcome.

These concepts in the form of engravings or drawings are strung along into an "Array" which is merely numerous Runes in close proximity, (Like words on a page would be, and generally of the same distance, though it scales such that a Rune the size of a field could be numerous feet from the next equally sized Rune that it shares an Array with.) close enough that their individual concepts interact and mix.

To that effect, two people using functionally identical "Concepts" may end up with startlingly different results. One's fireball rune array may create a large, torturously hot orb of flame, they plods along from one location to another, putting off excessive amounts of heat, but with no real force behind it. Another person's fireball rune may create flame of significantly lower temperature, but propel it with great force and speed, causing the end result to resemble a flaming lance in for and function more than a traditional ball of fire.

Another important requirement of Rune Arrays, is that Runes cannot touch, overlap, or lead into one another (as that would imply touching, as in cursive writing.) To do so leads to catastrophic results if the rune is eventually powered, generally a spectacular explosion, but regardless the Runecrafter or current user is not likely to survive the result.

If a finished rune array is harmed in some way after creation, it works at progressively diminishing effect until the point at which the altered symbol is no longer compatible with the "will" that it embodies. Thus inked Runes on a sheet of vellum that became slightly smudged due to water damage, would operate at a reduced effect, for they no longer perfectly embody the "will" that was emparted upon them at creation. If one could damage a rune without affecting the quality of others, or breaking the array, it is possible to "Erase" parts of the array. (IE: The last rune in a "Fireball" array is the one that imparts the "Fire" to the spell. If that is erased off the end, thus retaining the closeness necessary for an array with the remaining runes, the array would function, but without the "Fire" part, essentially being naught but a ball of force.)

Doing so can lead to... unpredictable results however, as only the original creator is likely to know what parts of the array have what effects, and how they interact to create the final result.

Runes have startlingly low mana requirements to activate, and need not an extra object for grounding, as the rune itself acts in this capacity, eroding the "will" used in the creation. Depending on the makeup and power of the rune, it may only last a single use, or many, but subsequent uses will always be at slightly (or significantly) reduced power, as though it had been damaged.




Becoming a mage that utilizes Runes is incredibly easy, but fraught with painful trial and error. The first step is in understanding that one has the propensity for such a craft. This can be discovered accidentally (sometimes destructively so), or through research in normal magical styles that lead one to believe that they would be able to utilize Runes.

When a person creates a rune, they impart a will upon it, an integral part of their reality, but consciously one does not know what a rune means, it's effects, or how it will interact with others. Creating an array that DOES anything significant requires considerable trial and error, deduction, and yet more trial and error. Arriving at a desireable result may be accidental, but it is more likely the result of a string of failed arrays that differ slightly in rune order or composition.

Perhaps having the will to work the craft is just a function of the blind luck or bull-headed determination required to make anything of it. It is hard for us to know...
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:33 pm

I really like it.

A couple concerns though:

I'm not sure where you wanted to go with the 'chaotic form of magic'. I don't really see where that is for this.

The entire 'will' thing is a bit ambiguous, and starts leading into a "Willpower" stat. However, this does flow quite nicely with the Belief system we currently have (i.e. the more you believe it will work, the more it is likely to work). Not so much a concern as it is just a comment.

I'm not sure if you remember that for spells to have elemental things happen, they still need elemental power. The way this is written makes it sound more like that's unnecessary, but nothing need really be changed with this article than for people to realize that runes don't skip the whole elemental power thing.

Since I plan on Arrays eventually being something (a symbol that doesn't do anything, like a rune would, but just connects a number of spellcasters together to collaborate on one spell), it might be best to just call them Runic Arrays, especially since my version of Arrays only really exist at the Conclave.


One thing that I like about it is that although it is logically similar in function to Enchantments (which it pretty much has to be), the source of power is different. Enchantments are designed to function a certain way, while Runes seem to work based off of the willpower that they will do something.
In fact, this already jives really well with Runic Tattoos (Runic Skin magic, since Crom already has ideas for Tattoo magic), which is where the user wills something to happen and that will causes the runes to carry out that will.

Awesome job, thanks for posting this Tuv, really appreciated.
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:11 pm

It is chaotic in the sense that it is different for absolutely everyone, to the point that people with "warped personal realities" might be able to do things completely divorced from logic or the rules of magic if say, for instance, their idea of "purple" is "C'thulu" or some such nonsense. Then again, someone that crazy probably doesn't have the solidity of mind needed to use Runes.

The elemental conversion thing... well, as per above, who is to say that the process DOESN'T just use its own process, instead of the normal means that spellcasters use. Perhaps believing hard enough CAN break magical thermodynamics, and create elements from mana. This would likely piss off Elemental Lords if they still exist, or maybe just maybe, be PRAISED by the appropriate being for increasing their "influence" without taking any away from the whole. As a rule though, yes, one can assume that process is taking place as part and parcel.

The "Will" thing is just me using a convenient word to describe a concept that wouldn't really be used in an IC or OOC way. Mostly just to properly describe it. "Belief" is okay too, but having something work just because you think it will sounds a little silly, ne? =P

"Array" was also just an easy way for me to describe "A sequence of distinct and ill-defined objects working in an ill-defined manner, to cause a synergistic effect under certain requirements." Runic Array is fine as a stopgap I suppose, but I would prefer ideas for a more... eloquent way of putting it if the distinction is so imperative.

EDIT: Runic Tattoos, I can see being outrageously and needlessly painful, since as I have it worded here, using Rune essentially pumps raw mana through, and EATS CONCEPTS to do things. I can forsee that smarting something awful.
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:23 pm

Tentacle Therapist wrote:
The elemental conversion thing... well, as per above, who is to say that the process DOESN'T just use its own process, instead of the normal means that spellcasters use. Perhaps believing hard enough CAN break magical thermodynamics, and create elements from mana. This would likely piss off Elemental Lords if they still exist, or maybe just maybe, be PRAISED by the appropriate being for increasing their "influence" without taking any away from the whole. As a rule though, yes, one can assume that process is taking place as part and parcel.

There is no mana <-> elemental power conversion process. There's a lot of lore saying that doesn't happen.
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by CromTheConqueror on Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:16 pm

I actually really enjoy the idea of everyones runes being slightly different. It makes runes sound more like an art than a science. I think you might try phrasing it as "an art" or "individually unique" instead of chaotic. I'm assuming that if most beginner rune makers work fails than this is something that would be used exlusively on items (as it's unlikely you'd have that many human subjects lining up to have runes fail and explode in their faces). Though that being said I could also see someone practicing these on inanimate objects and then applying them to human beings when they are practiced in the art. I also like the idea of a master rune maker being able to look over the runes of other rune makers to identify the purpose of their runes and add to a Runic Array.

I agree we should find a more "eloquent" terminology other than Runic Array.

I'm slightly offput by what you mean when you saying using runes are incredibly easy but fraight with painful trial and error. It seems to contradict itself. What is so easy about them?

The idea about them becoming reduced in power after use also sounds great and makes them on more of an even playing field. They are limited in the runes powers as most mages are limited by the amount of reagents and feedback grounds available. Are runes permanent but have a set number of charges (one, twice, three times ect.) before they become useless and need time before they can be reused? Or do they just become useless after the set number of uses and become completely inert?

Definitely approve of runes not touching each other as a way to limit the amount of runes someone can have.

I like the idea of runes being destroyed but I think the emphasis (as was noted in your post) needs to be placed on the material itself being ruined such as a burn mark on your arm or rust on a sword.

In the end though can you sum up the reasons. Why would I want to use rune magic and why wouldn't I want to use it?

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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:56 pm

Admin wrote:There is no mana <-> elemental power conversion process. There's a lot of lore saying that doesn't happen.

I have not been present, and thus my quick skim of things probably proved insufficient. However it works now, depending on the beliefs at large, there is an allottment for beings of immense sense of self and force of will to break those rules if they so desire, to "skip" them if they so desire, perhaps using a more personalized process. This may be written out as deemed necessary.

CromTheConqueror wrote:I'm slightly offput by what you mean when you saying using runes are incredibly easy but fraight with painful trial and error. It seems to contradict itself. What is so easy about them?

Whilst deliberate seeking of Runecraft is possible, and likely somewhat common, accidental discovery is just as likely. It can start as a moment of introspection, and indeed, who has not idly doodled in moments of deep thought? Sitting on a stump, drawing in the dirt with their foot, idly drawing in the sand with a stick. There is power in moments of deep introspection, bringing forth parts on oneself that one never knew were there...

That said, just because a symbol is precious to you, does not mean it has the effect you might associate with that symbol. Some symbols are inherently stronger than others, and when one has no idea which of their Runes do what, there is nothing to do but try. Maybe those two symbols make something warm up pleasantly like a hand warmer, or maybe they cause it to start spewing out lava. Never know until you try, and thus there is extensive "failures" in the sense that something happened, but you don't really know why or how immediately. Working out what does and does not work together, and eventually what each does individually can be likened to finding a form of personal enlightenment. Which is never easy or without setbacks.

Indeed, since they are tied to one's own personal reality, their meanings might shift after particularly traumatic or earthshattering events, requiring you to re-learn them again. (Obviously not affecting any that were made prior.)

CromTheConqueror wrote:The idea about them becoming reduced in power after use also sounds great and makes them on more of an even playing field. They are limited in the runes powers as most mages are limited by the amount of reagents and feedback grounds available. Are runes permanent but have a set number of charges (one, twice, three times ect.) before they become useless and need time before they can be reused? Or do they just become useless after the set number of uses and become completely inert?

The second one. The decrease in effectiveness is essentially the power being used, warping the symbol. As it gets less like what was originally inscribed, the effect diminishes. The more divorced it is from what its original form is, the less power it holds. This varies heavily on the material being used, and the force being used.

A stick with a fire spell might burn or char, a sword might melt or warp. When these affect the Rune enough that it is irreconcilable with the original, the effect ends. (This can actually be left vague for more RP opportunities. Generally things stop at 50% or 25% effectiveness to give examples, but there is not to say that someone could not manage a lifesaving 1% out of an almost completely ruined Rune, if that would be appropriate or relevant story-wise.)

The object would need to be salvaged, re-prepared, and re-inscribed to get the same level of effect again. (If that is even possible by that point. Metal maybe, wood and skin? probably not.)

CromTheConqueror wrote:I like the idea of runes being destroyed but I think the emphasis (as was noted in your post) needs to be placed on the material itself being ruined such as a burn mark on your arm or rust on a sword.

Yes, the Rune is the ground, but the rune is also a part of what it is inscribed on. They are separate, but connected, and this should be made clear.

CromTheConqueror wrote:In the end though can you sum up the reasons. Why would I want to use rune magic and why wouldn't I want to use it?

It is cheap, reliant not on mana as being the limiting factor, but the Rune Crafter's skill and the materials used. It requires high startup cost, in the sense that one most discover how their Runes function by trial and error, but after that, they can be mixed and matched with impunity.

The burden of effort in normal spells lies in researching the spell itself, and casting. The burden of effort in Runes lies in discovering the (admittedly nearly limitless) individual effects and inter-relations between them. If one has a firm enough grasp on a small number of their runes, they can be combined quickly and easily to produce effects very close to what was intended. Adding an extra fire, taking out a force, and adding a stationary to a set of runes used for a fireball, would allow one to (as quickly as they can inscribe the runes) create a large explosion on a single location.

The only problem is learning beforehand whether or not mixing two fires side-by-side decreases, increases, or does something else when you do it. Because everyone's runes and interactions are different. Thus runes are cheaper, can be made into new forms with impunity (Again, knowing what your runes do is a requirement for not causing random awful to happen here.), but take slightly more time to prepare than a normal spell, and have effects that are decidedly more variable.

Good for any character that requires more magical flexibility, with a bit more inherent danger in their craft than traditional forms. But with flexibility comes malleability, and so things may not always conform to exactly what one would want.
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by CromTheConqueror on Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:34 pm

Good for any character that requires more magical flexibility, with a bit more inherent danger in their craft than traditional forms. But with flexibility comes malleability, and so things may not always conform to exactly what one would want.

This is interesting because my write up of runes had them down as being less flexible. The main advantage here seems to be in that "people can mix or match" as they please which means more flexibility. But can't an elemental mage do that exact same thing more on the fly and craft mana how they please?

The second one. The decrease in effectiveness is essentially the power being used, warping the symbol. As it gets less like what was originally inscribed, the effect diminishes. The more divorced it is from what its original form is, the less power it holds. This varies heavily on the material being used, and the force being used.

If someone inscribed a staff that could shoot out a fireball and that effect burned the wood of the staff then why wouldn't it do the exact same thing to do human skin? (as you mentioned wood and flesh specifically). Does that make it impossible for a human to use runes to cast "fireball".

It is cheap, reliant not on mana as being the limiting factor, but the Rune Crafter's skill and the materials used. It requires high startup cost, in the sense that one most discover how their Runes function by trial and error, but after that, they can be mixed and matched with impunity.

You say that it is cheap and then state that it depends on the materials used (the way a mage depends upon the reagents and feedback grounds material available). Since cheap doesn't deal with materials what does "cheap" mean?

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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:34 pm

CromTheConqueror wrote:This is interesting because my write up of runes had them down as being less flexible. The main advantage here seems to be in that "people can mix or match" as they please which means more flexibility. But can't an elemental mage do that exact same thing more on the fly and craft mana how they please?

Perhaps I assumed Magic was now more scienced and rigid than it was before, and less mercurial. I shall assume that using many elements at once is still problematic? As is mixing opposing elements?

This is fire, not because it is fire the element, but because it is fire the concept. (It could be governed by the elemental systems, or not, depending on what is decided here.) In that sense, elements don't play nice because they are factions that are opposed to one another, concepts can be opposed, but not because they have a diplomatic and idealogical tiffs.

CromTheConqueror wrote:If someone inscribed a staff that could shoot out a fireball and that effect burned the wood of the staff then why wouldn't it do the exact same thing to do human skin? (as you mentioned wood and flesh specifically). Does that make it impossible for a human to use runes to cast "fireball".

It is not burning the whole of the staff, merely the site of the Rune. That is to say, on can have many identical sets of runes on a staff, as long as they are not close enough to associate into a runic array. But eventually the staff would run out of places to put runes, or the localized damage would be too great to support the staff staying whole.

Flesh is problematic in that flesh is malleable enough to distort the shape of a rune just by being in a wrong position, stretching one's hand out too far if a rune were on the palm or somesuch. But having such a "fireball" set of runes, would merely burn, then char, then blacken the flesh there. Not the whole hand, or the whole body.

CromTheConqueror wrote:You say that it is cheap and then state that it depends on the materials used (the way a mage depends upon the reagents and feedback grounds material available). Since cheap doesn't deal with materials what does "cheap" mean?

It does not DEPEND on the material, per se. A small strip of paper with runes of ink, is just as effective as a massive stone monolith ascribed with the same runes. The effect the rune has ON the material is different though. The paper would most surely burn up in the heat, being one-use. Whereas the stone might be more resilient, or merely crack and shatter from heat differential. Perhaps that spot would become molten were the heat powerful enough.

Cheap-wise is more of a mana-based situation. Normal mages can use too much mana if they wish in a spell, but need grounds to match that power or bad things happen to them and the spell. Trying to push more mana into a rune simply does not work. They do not overcharge, and they do not require a ground. (Again, the symbol itself acting as the ground, and ruining as it is used.)

Runes are essentially required to be in a runic array to do anything. A single rune merely creates a concept without direction, or a direction without concept. I am playing around with the idea that the mana required to trigger such a thing (Of which the quantity of manipulating mana being a function of the mage's skill if I recall. This may have changed.) is proportional to the size of the runic array. Not length, but size. If someone were to somehow inscribe a microscopic rune, whilst the base effects would remain the same, the quantity of them would be less. Whereas a rune array the size of a nation would produce that proportionally. (Of course, making something that big would take forever, and it would be trivially easy to disrupt and make worthless. It also becomes a logistical problem, because the forward force of the nation-sized fireball would not have changed, only the size. Essentially nuking yourself.)
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by CromTheConqueror on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:31 pm

I almost think we should fold this into the Created God's system. I still believe in the idea of making every magic system distinct with how they operate and the benefits/disadvantages. Elemental Blood Magic fits with the elemental magic system and offers distinct benefits/disadvantages so it works. We might want to call these "Sigils" and make them for some wide-ranging holy order.

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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by Admin on Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:35 am

CromTheConqueror wrote:Elemental Blood Magic fits with the elemental magic system and offers distinct benefits/disadvantages so it works.

No because NO. What? Elemental Blood, first of all, isn't even magic. Holders don't manipulate mana directly. They are granted that power specifically by Kar'Kaish. There are, at most, eight, one for each element. It doesn't work off of the elemental magic system (it can be explained by the elemental magic system, but it's not really elemental magic) and the benefits and disadvantages are arbitrary considering what it is and that no one can choose or learn to have it.

UNLESS you mean Blood Magic (Like what the Kailzim do) applied with Elemental Magic. That's a different story.

We might want to call these "Sigils" and make them for some wide-ranging holy order.

... While they do fit with what 'sigils' would be, doing that would NOT help us with the Rune problem.
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Re: Possible Rune Magic Re-write

Post by CromTheConqueror on Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:21 pm

Admin wrote: UNLESS you mean Blood Magic (Like what the Kailzim do) applied with Elemental Magic. That's a different story.

This. And relax. You could have avoided typing the entire paragraph using the one line I quoted.

... While they do fit with what 'sigils' would be, doing that would NOT help us with the Rune problem.

It eliminate one more proposal of what they could be. Which helps in deciding what runes will be.

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