Magic Culture: Celestial and Earth

Alavatar

Baron
Why are the magics called Celestial and Earth? It isn't like there is any mechanical link between being able to see the sky and cast Celestial Magic, or be on earth (ground) to cast Earth Magic.

Perhaps a more descriptive term is Foundation (Stone, Lightning, Ice, Flame) Magic and Primal (Order, Chaos, Life, Death) Magic?

Thoughts for discussion?

(I put it in Races and Cultures because it isn't rules, nor a general discussion, more on the cultural aspect of magic nomenclature ... I guess.)
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
Having Magisterium and Ministerium Scholars, each flexible in four directions (one of them a Forbidden Direction) would be awesome. I think it would help a lot with people who want to be able to heal but not just heal. It would also help decouple the idea of "Divine/Profane" and "Arcane" magic, if both halves of magic looked more similar.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
Oh I guess that's not really what you just asked at all...
 

Grianadhmad

Artisan
I was going to respond and then quickly realised that you're right. It took me a while to actually think of any semi-decent connexion / explanation.

I suppose, Earth Magic tends to concern itself with the cycle of life, as in Gaea's lifeforce, and that the power of earth itself is anathema to the undead because the dead are supposed to be buried within her. In this way earth magic (and its opposite, chaos magic), life, and death are all intricately related.

Whereas Celestial Magic (which I'm not that experienced with as of yet) tends to deal purely with magic of elements, and I suppose it could be said that it's fancier, somewhat alien magic to the earth itself. Also "celestial" can mean not just "of sky or heaven," but also "divine" or "of higher glory."
 

Alavatar

Baron
Oh I guess that's not really what you just asked at all...
It kind of is. Sometimes the most effective means of changing the paradigm of a cultural perception is to alter the nomenclature. Going further down the rabbit hole than just the top level "Celestial" vs. "Earth" may result in other discoveries that could change people's perceptions. It is entirely feasible that a potential outcome may be an impact to how people expect the magics be utilized just by referring to the differently than they been in the past.

Mostly I wanted to spark discussion.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
Sorry for badly (possibly willfully) misreading your original post.

Out-of-game theory: Healers are either clerics or druids, and druids are really just nature clerics. It's very difficult to decouple the cultural idea of healing as being the provenance of a deity, and having the general concept of the planet stand in for an explicit deity is far enough away from a literal god that it's not quite against the spirit of the rules. I think this is most clearly highlighted in the idea of the "opposite" of this magic being something which Desecrates and Defiles--explicitly unholy (by the universal dogma of the land that should have no dogma).

As for celestial magic, I don't know, maybe it's because wizzard hats have stars. It's probably as simple as "this is the other, non-evil opposite of the Earth, and the opposite of Earth is Sky."

In game, it's harder to say, since Earth scholars tend to develop such a solid internal conception of their bond to the Earth allowing for magic that it's hard to define what aspects of that mindset come from the culture, and which aspects of the culture are added by players developing the mindset.

For obvious reasons, I've thought more about what makes Earth magic Earth magic than what makes Celestial magic Celestial.

Does Alavatar have any thoughts on the Celestial subject?
 

Alavatar

Baron
Alavatar's perspective is that magic, in all forms except Fey Curse, is Planar in nature. Specifically, that casters utilize their incantations to pull energy from the various primary planes that manifests in the caster's hands to perform the desired effect and that each effect has a corresponding element.

For instance, healing someone is pulling from the Plane of Life to make something heal faster than normal (or come back to Life). He also thinks that Earth Magic's reversible spells is indicative that Earth Casters can twist the Planar Energy to unravel or alter it from it's native source more easily than Celestial casters, so Necromancy is the twisting of energy from the Plane of Life. He also thinks the Plane of Chaos is not intrinsically Necromantic, but instead a plane of entropy constantly changing and breaking down and rebuilding. Contrasting with the Plane of Order which is unchanging and static in nature.

And his theory is that Celestial casters can combine Planar magics more easily than Earth Casters, which he would argue is how Eldritch Force came to be.
 

JordarAd

Newbie
One of my long-standing characters in NERO (who went with the switch to Alliance) completed a theoretical text on the nature of Celestial and Earth magics called "Magis di Terrus".

In his book, he theorized that it is the Planar energies of the Primal (Life, Death, Chaos and Order) Planes and Elemental (Earth, Fire, Air, Water) Planes and the Planar Web that create and alter invocations to draw upon the planes that connect Fortannis (Terra) to the magical energies that power spells. Basically, all life forces are an amalgamation of all planar energies in a constant flux, so Life energies may use Earth energies as a path to provide their way in, but Chaos takes a more direct route. (This also explains - to him, at least- why fire spells don't burn down forests and why "restore limb" won't work with a broken arm.)
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
Zeth has theories on Magistarium magic. I’ll post it sometime.
 

Muir

Fighter
I've always wanted to write out a full theory of Earth magic from a necromancer's point of view, starting from the basis that Earth magic is a horrible violation of the natural order because it violates the cycle of life by unnaturally extending things past their time. Necromancy is just being thrifty, and using the dead to serve the living, no worse than building our homes of dead trees or our clothes of the skin of dead animals.
 

Grianadhmad

Artisan
I've always wanted to write out a full theory of Earth magic from a necromancer's point of view, starting from the basis that Earth magic is a horrible violation of the natural order because it violates the cycle of life by unnaturally extending things past their time. Necromancy is just being thrifty, and using the dead to serve the living, no worse than building our homes of dead trees or our clothes of the skin of dead animals.
I had never thought of it the way you just explained it, unnatural extension of life. That's interesting to think about.

At the last event Traverse had, my dryad character was arguing with another one that necromancy violated the cycle of life because instead of the dead/decomposing feeding and encouraging new life, it was the cycle of life being forced backward. Same reasoning, different conclusion. :)
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff

Muir

Fighter
It seems pretty self-evident, really. You can't enslave the permanently dead, they have no spirits to be enslaved. They are nothing more than constructs that happen to use bodies as their material.

Do celestialists get slaughtered by the crown for making bone or flesh golems? I think not.
 
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Gandian Ravenscroft

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
Do celestialists get slaughtered by the crown for making bone or flesh golems? I think not.
Weren't you there for the flesh golem plot in SoMN? Lemme tell ya, that guy (me, with blue hair!) certainly was on the slaughter list for his creations. :p
 

Muir

Fighter
Well, yeah, but that was because he was being a **** with them as I recall. Being offensive to adventurers gets one dirt naps.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
You can't enslave the dead, they have no spirits to be enslaved. They are nothing more than constructs that happen to use bodies as their material. I think not.
I mean, part of the problem is that you're not really using permanently dead bodies. There's very little that's widely available that can be done with a permanently dead body. The problem is that you need a living person or a dying person, and either way someone's probably still using that meatsack. Now, if there was only some way to animate permanently dead debtors until they could clear their names of what they owed in life...
 

Muir

Fighter
I mean, part of the problem is that you're not really using permanently dead bodies. There's very little that's widely available that can be done with a permanently dead body. The problem is that you need a living person or a dying person, and either way someone's probably still using that meatsack. Now, if there was only some way to animate permanently dead debtors until they could clear their names of what they owed in life...
That's just the field-expedient version. Ethical necromancers take the time to cast Summon Undead rituals instead of reanimating those headed to the circle.
 

Samyania

Scholar
Seattle Staff
That's just the field-expedient version. Ethical necromancers take the time to cast Summon Undead rituals instead of reanimating those headed to the circle.
Even that just uses whatever free-floating bodies or spirits happen to be around the area... Truly ethical necromancy has to be consensual. Transform to Greater or bust.

Uh.

I mean.

I'm not going to write my thesis on Greater Undead being Earth golems with bad press, whaaat? Haha. Anyway. How about that sweet morally neutral Celestial magic, guys...
 

Muir

Fighter
You should hear a Stone Elf, a Biata, and a Mystic Wood Elf debate the ethics of Celestial magic some time. :)
 
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