PDA

View Full Version : Erfworld: Magic Fundamentals

Ganurath
01-16-2009, 05:58 AM
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the magic system in Erfworld, trying to classify the meanings behind Life, Motion, Matter, Erf, Fate, and Numbers so as to be better able to anticipate what the different schools do.

What we know:Findamancy was used, in conjunction with Lookamancy to summon Parson.
Mathamancy is used to calculate probabilities.
Findamancy and Mathamancy are Hocus Pocus disciplines of Erf and Numbers respectively, which is the class of Life without Motion or Matter.
Dirtmancy is Stuffmancy on the Erf axis, and can be used to create tunnels and golems.
Dirtmancy is the Erf discipline of Stuffmancy, which is the class of Matter without Life or Motion.
Lookamancy is used to find out information about hexes and units.
Thinkamancy is used to influence loyalty and communicate mentally.
Foolamancy is used to hide stuff with illusions.
Lookamancy, Thinkamancy, and Foolamancy are the three disciplines of Eyemancy, which is the class of Life and Motion without Matter.
Shockmancy hurts things, likely through direct damage.
Croakmancy reanimates the bodies of the fallen.
Shockmancy and Croakmancy are the disciplines of Naughtymancy on the Erf and Fates axes, respectively, which is the class of Motion and Matter without Life.
Luckmancy can alter the odds to your favor.
Healomancy is the healing magic.
Luckomancy and Healomancy are the disciplines of Clevermancy on the Erf and Fate axes, respectively, which is the class without Life, Motion, and Matter.

Now, I looked at this with a now much more convoluted Excel spreadsheet, and the first thing that popped into my head was "Hey, Erf disciplines seem to make stuff!" So, I put a question mark after the Kill descriptor I had for Shockmancy and changed Erf to "Create New."

I then took a look at the Fate axes. I had loyalty manipulation and communication meshed together, reanimation, and healing. Well, reanimation is something I'm familiar with thanks to my interest in necromancy in other fantasy settings, so let's start there. If we stick with the assumption that Croakmancy can't be Create New when you make undead, then by process of elimination you're changing something for the better: Improving it. Thinkamancy "improves" loyalty and communication networks, and Healomancy improves life totals. Change Fate to "Improve Current."

Numbers... I had the raw math of Mathmancy and the illusions of Foolamancy. I decided to take a sideways approach: I'll take a look at what Lookamancy creates that Thinkamancy improves, then look at what Foolamancy does to it. Suddenly Eyemancy becomes the magic of "Perceptions" and Numbers is changed to "Removes Undesired."

With that base, I started speculating. Luckamancy creates new luck, healomancy improves current hit points, and moneymancy I imagined, following my logic, removed undesired expenses. So, what do luck, hit points, and expenses all have in common that wouldn't be tied to any of the three elements? On a leap I changed Clevermancy to "Basics"

I decided I wanted to change Naughtymancy. Croakamancy was improving corpses, that much was evident. Shockamancy is some sort of violent force in canon... I decided to change Naughtymancy to "Bad Stuff" just to have a vague base to go off of, but then changed it to "Suffering."

Now, how does one Remove Undesired Suffering? That would imply some sort of supportive magic, but that just didn't feel right for Naughtymancy, the class devoid of Life. I then remembered a TVTropes entry on the source of the name of Deletionism, and thought about how that worked: Something was done, then undone. Deletionism became "Counterspells."

I had a field day with Hocus Pocus. What bad things were Mathmancy removing if all you could calculate were odds? Hocus Pocus becomes "Choices" and Findamancy quickly turns to "Summons" as Predictamancy becomes "Possibilities."

With half the classes (speculatively) figured out, I decided to attempt mastery of the elements. Naughtymancy is the magic of Suffering, it wants to be bad to you, to Life. Hippiemancy wants to be nice, wanting to preserve the status quo and prevent things from happening, an antithesis of Motion. Eyemancy is focused on things that are important yet do not have physical substance, no Matter. Clevermancy focuses on the basics; it is beyond Life, Motion, and Matter because such things are beneath it.

First thing I see solved is Motion. Where Motion and Numbers combine, spells are countered before they take affect and veils are placed before enemies can see the truth. Motion and Erf combine see stuff before it sees you, then hurt stuff from the same distance. Motion and Fate together are more reactionary, but make up for it in versatility: It can be used on your own to improve morale or create a second wave, or on your enemies to turn their forces on themselves (in more ways than one.) Motion is the Dynamic element, the force of Change and Initiative. The abscence of Motion is to be Stagnant, Passive, and Reactionary. Or, from another point of view: Motion is Bad For You, No Motion is Good For Me.

Life|Motion|Matter|Base Chart|Erf|Fate|Numbers
x|||Hocus Pocus|Findamancy|Predictamancy|Mathamancy
|x||Spookism|Turnamancy|Dollamancy|Weirdomancy
||x|Stuffmancy|Dirtmancy|Changemancy|Dittomancy
x|x||Eyemancy|Lookamancy|Thinkamancy|Foolamancy
x||x|Hippiemancy|Flower Power|Signamancy|Date-a-mancy
|x|x|Naughtymancy|Shockmancy|Croakamancy|Deletioni sm
x|x|x|Stagemancy|Hat Magic|Carnymancy|Rhyme-o-mancy
|||Clevermancy|Luckmancy|Healomancy|Moneymancy

x|||Choices|Summon/Filter?|Predict?|Calculate Odds
|x||Spookism|Turnamancy|Dollamancy|Weirdomancy
||x|Stuffmancy|Tunnels/Golems|Changemancy|Dittomancy
x|x||Perceptions|Scrying|Loyalty & Comm|Illusions
x||x|Hippiemancy|Flower Power|Signamancy|Date-a-mancy
|x|x|Suffering|Direct Damage|Reanimation|Countermagic?
x|x|x|Stagemancy|Hat Magic|Carnymancy|Rhyme-o-mancy
|||Basics|Improve Odds|Healing|Finances?

Tubercular Ox
01-16-2009, 02:08 PM
Well, praise first: Thinking of Naughtymancy as "Without life" rather than "With motion and matter" is awfully darn clever. Two points and it's probably going to help us later on.

Now, reservations. I'm full of questions. You're a lot better off in that you actually have a theory; my only complaint is that it doesn't feel thematically related to calling the actual names of the disciplines. I mean, why is it called Fate if its meaning is to Improve?

Here are my thoughts, without being able to create any theory:

I would call Hocus Pocus a kind of Divination. Find searches the present; Predict searches the future; and Math searches the odds. Then there's Look. That's a kind of divination, too. So sad. I wonder what the difference is between Look and Find? I suppose Find has a target in mind while Look does not?

EVERYTHING in Clever seems to revolve around change. Changing the odds, changing your health, and I'm pretty sure Money would change your treasury.

Vertically!

I thought I had a grip on Fate. I wanted to believe Fate magic trivially deals with your Fate. I mean what once was dead returns to life; what once was wounded becomes hale; Putting "Hocus Pocus" as divination, Predict divines your Fate. And then there's Think and Luck, and I cry a little inside. A second choice, foreshadowed above, is "Future." A future of bleeding to death is avoided by Heal, a future of staying dead is averted by Croak, and, repetition, Predict divines the future. But again Think remains stubborn!

By extension I wanted to view Erf as "Present," the here and now, the world around us, and while that seems okay for Find vs. Predict, and vaguely Shock vs. Croak or Luck vs. Heal, it is definitely ruined by all the others. Although Dirt, at least, still has a strong "The Earth around us" feel, but not a "Present" feel.

Numbers clearly has simple accounting in mind for Math and Money. Shame about Fool. And the rest of the chart, probably.

Now, that Other chart. You seem to be dead on on this one.

Eye is "Without matter," a good description for a magic that deals with Perceptions.

Given Dirt, Stuff as being only matter screams "Yes!" to me, although we'll probably be Jossed should we ever see the other two magics.

I've already said Naughty as "without life" is great.

Hocus Pocus as only Life? Well, without Find I can only speculate, but it's possible that Predict and Math seem to be about people. Both Predict and Math, in a sense, show what people will do. Unless we learn that Predict can in fact predict, say, an earthquake.

So I'll create my own theory right here: If a magic contains only one element, it is described as "Having that element." If it has two elements, it is described as "Without the missing element."

That's all I got and I'm late for work.

Ganurath
01-16-2009, 03:09 PM
Charts will be editted in to the OP after this response.

On Hocus Pocus: It was, as Wanda described it, a Findamancy/Lookamancy monster that was used to summon Parson. The Lookamancy part, logically, was used to look where Gobwin Knob has no units: In other planes of existence. By process of elimination, Findamancy must have covered the summoning element. Although, it is possible that the Findamancy was to highlight the Choices that fit the criteria... I'll keep it as is for now to keep the rest of my web from unravelling, since it could still go either way. Good observation, though.

On the axes: Erf is the greatest Creation of the Titans, and it is by altering the Fate of key individuals that they Improve it. With the Numbers that define stats, they Remove undesired variables and ensure that the future is within their capacity to control.

On the other two elements:

It came to me while I was trying to sleep! If we divide the "known" classes by which are aligned to Matter and which are not, we have Dirtmancy (as proxy to Stuffmancy,) Hippiemancy, and Naughtymancy as being with Matter. Hocus Pocus, Eyemancy, and Clevermancy are the magics without Matter. We haven't seen Hippiemancy in action, but from what we've seen from Sizemore and Wanda both of their Matter classes are very applicable on the front lines. By contrast, it would seem that the various Eyemancers want to avoid being in combat. Matter is In Your Face, Direct, Overt. No Matter is Subtle, Evasive, and Covert.

By the same methodology, let's look at Life classes. In one corner we have Hocus Pocus, Eyemancy, and Hippiemancy with Life. In the other corner we have Naughtymancy and Clevermancy without Life. I knew this last night. So much easier if we knew what Hippiemancy did other than causing flaking, we'd be able to tell which of the numerous similiarities between Hocus Pocus and Eyemancy were due to the presence of Life and which were due to the absence of Matter. Ah, on to the chart in the OP!

Edit: Decisions! With the Life magics, you're influencing things that can make decisions, can control what they do, are alive. Nothing that non-Life magic manipulates can make a choice for itself. It's one of the major rules limiting undead capacity! The other being that they decay, but that just emphasizes my theorized function of Fate: corpses still get removes, Croakmancy just improves the duration they have to be useful.

Tubercular Ox
01-16-2009, 08:55 PM
I agree, sticking things on a graph is important. With matter vs. without matter, etc. That's probably how they originally thought about it in the first place.

Personally, I'm ready to add a hidden descriptor, Recalcitrance: Magics that exist just to frustrate our attempts to understand the system. Luck is the poster child here. Luck, fate. Fate, luck. Why is Luck not aligned with Fate? Clearly a joke of the Titans. I blame the fat one, he looks shifty.

I mean, sure, it might hang with your theory that Luck is Erf, but ... my complaint from before... it makes zero thematic sense!

Ganurath
01-16-2009, 09:23 PM
Panel 8 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0114.html): By Luck or by Fate or by Numbers.

My theory: What we are determining is how each axis divides up the classes of magic into disciplines. The names of the axes, however, are based on how the casters determine which discipline they favor based on what they believe.

Erf Discipline: It's all about Luck, there's no system that brings things to fall into order. I'll just do what I can as Duty calls and Loyalty allows and hope I'm still standing at the end of the turn with my head held high.

Fate Discipline: The Titans have a plan, and I have a role to play in it. Whether great or small, I shape the world to the will of the Titans. (Note how Croakmancer Wanda cites Fate as she charges Ansom during her aerial attack.)

Numbers Discipline: There is an order to things, as those who believe in Fate prescribe, but the Titans do not have an active hand in it. It is but another tool, an ethereal Fifth Tool, to be wielded against those who would use it against you.

The elements that make up the caster's class, meanwhile, ask whether the things named matter to the caster:

Sizemore is content to be left alone, away from Life and studying without great Motion disrupting him. Earth about him, books before him, Matter is what matters. Of course, if he has to deal with Life, he cares about it, which is why he was splashing Hippiemancy (the Erf discipline Flower Power, to match Dirtmancy) when he was introduced.

Wanda has no qualms with doing bad things to Life in general. She has a tactical mind, focused on the Matter of the situation, and strives for the progress that sets (her?) plans in Motion.

Maggie doesn't seem to care about Life at first, but she does put up all the social niceties indicating that she cares what people think. It's likely she just comes off that way because she has the power to change people's opinions if she wants to, but can't do it all the time (like Charlie, who drops all social norms.) She does what she can to keep things in Motion, but she was thrown off guard when Parson was BOed at her, indicating a disconnection from Matter's immediate nature.

It starts to make even more sense when you compare skill to philosophy:

Wanda: Mind so focused she could stab you with it, and probably could. Said to be the most talented caster in Gobwin Knob.
Maggie: She has to qualms about speaking her mind when prompted, and was skilled enough to pull of a three-caster link. She limits herself to obedience, though, which may be why Charlie strains her abilities so.
Sizemore: Said to be a bad caster, and seems to have a very submissive personality.

*looks back*

Oh my... Erm. So, does that explain how Luckmancy fits under Erf?

Tubercular Ox
01-17-2009, 12:15 AM
You're really starting to get somewhere. But your theory can be entirely self consistent and perfectly explain everything and I will still harbor some small grudge that SOMEONE chose Luck to be Erf instead of Fate. They're freaking synonyms. (http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/fate) This isn't a problem with your theory, it's a personal beef with the authors.

Describing Erf, Fate, and Numbers as ideologies makes a lot of sense, since they're mutually exclusive wrt magic, unlike the elements. I wonder then why they chose to call them axes? That implies they're related somehow. Of course, it could be simply that they are mutually orthogonal... practically synonymous with mutually exclusive.

Saying Erf is "luck" seems a stretch to me. Yeah, Sizemore's waxing philosophical there, and Luck is Erf aligned, but it just doesn't smell right. I'm quibbling, though, because except for that one bit of word choice I like the description. Of course your description is Sizemore-colored, the opportunity to describe Erf as a "Create your own future, don't rely on fate or numbers" philosophy is also there. Best part: It can be both at once and I, at least, can still claim they're related around an "Erf" theme. They fit together inside my head.

I think you're reading too much into Sizemore's study habits. Sizemore said he was interested in everything but only good at his specialty, and you relate that to him being Motionless. It strikes me as farfetched that all Motionless casters would be interested in studying different kinds of magic.

I don't know how much forethought I want to assume of the writers, but I think Maggie is mostly shellshocked from that three caster link, and I will continue to think so until she and Jack lose that grey skin.

In fact, with words as generic as Life, Matter, and Motion, you could probably fit them into the description of anyone's personality. Let's focus on the magic, not the casters. And yes, I'm still saying this after praising the idea that Erf, Fate, and Numbers are ideologies.

Let's exhaust the categories.

Life Lifeless
Hocus Spook
Eye Stuff
Hippie Naughty
Stage Clever

Motion Motionless
Spook Hocus
Eye Stuff
Naughty Hippie
Stage Clever

Matter Matterless
Stuff Hocus
Hippie Spook
Naughty Eye
Stage Clever

Looking at them like that feels inspirational to me somehow, but I'm not sure where to take it yet. Once again it looks like I leave the heavy lifting to you.

I wonder what the authors think about us talking like this? Do they laugh at us for our silly ideas? Are their eyes wide at how serious we take something they threw together in a long afternoon? Fandom has a bad habit of that.

At least we have authors that could possibly tell us the answer. Think of the poor Erfworlders trying to understand things on their own.

Ganurath
01-17-2009, 01:15 AM
You're really starting to get somewhere. But your theory can be entirely self consistent and perfectly explain everything and I will still harbor some small grudge that SOMEONE chose Luck to be Erf instead of Fate. They're freaking synonyms. (http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/fate) This isn't a problem with your theory, it's a personal beef with the authors.Let's look at Luckmancy versus it's Fate counterpart, Healomancy.
Luckmancy: I don't want to get hurt. I'll improve my Luck so that I don't.
Healomancy: I being injured is my Fate. I accept it, and respond by healing the injury.

Point to be extended upon below.Describing Erf, Fate, and Numbers as ideologies makes a lot of sense, since they're mutually exclusive wrt magic, unlike the elements. I wonder then why they chose to call them axes? That implies they're related somehow. Of course, it could be simply that they are mutually orthogonal... practically synonymous with mutually exclusive.How is the axis that believes in blind chance the Create New magic? By creating an overabundance of benefits to your favor or problems for the enemy, you reduce the role luck plays. Luckmancy, being the Erf discipline of Clevermancy does this rather elegantly by manipulating Luck directly.

How is the axis that believes in a divine design the Improve Current magic? It takes the threats that Fate dishes out, and addresses them. Thinkamancy addresses hostile soldiers by diminishing Loyalty and communicating their presence. Croakmancy responds to casualties with Uncroaked. Healomancy responds to damage with, well, healing.

Affect People|Distance People
Hocus|Spook
Eye|Stuff
Hippie|Naughty
Stage|Clever
Spook|Hocus
Eye|Stuff
Naughty|Hippie
Stage|Clever
Front Lines|Sidelines
Stuff|Hocus
Hippie|Spook
Naughty|Eye
Stage|CleverLooking at them like that feels inspirational to me somehow, but I'm not sure where to take it yet. Once again it looks like I leave the heavy lifting to you.:thog:Thog lift with legs, not back.I wonder what the authors think about us talking like this? Do they laugh at us for our silly ideas? Are their eyes wide at how serious we take something they threw together in a long afternoon? Fandom has a bad habit of that.Hey, hey, hey! Bad things happen when speculation gets recursive!At least we have authors that could possibly tell us the answer. Think of the poor Erfworlders trying to understand things on their own.If the second entry in Parson's Klog is any indication, they've never put much effort into it. I think that's partly due to the lack of children: No children means everyone must pop with the needed knowledge, which means no education. No education means no desire to learn outside of where there's tangible benefits: Spells for casters, XP for warlords, etc.

Tubercular Ox
01-17-2009, 01:36 AM
You're clearly thinking about this a lot more than me. I have a day off coming up, I'll spend a couple hours putting words to my emotions about what you've written. Maybe. I'm a notorious wastrel. Or maybe I'll do what you do: Think about it as I go to sleep. The problem is I can't seem to keep the whole chart in my head the way you do.

Anyways, I'm adding Heal to my thematic objections list. I'm upset the authors didn't align Heal with Life. Which means I have a real grudge against Clever. Maybe that's the point. Whenever someone says "Clevermancy" I think of phrases like "You're being clever," or "You think you're clever, don't you?" and all the emotions those imply.

Ganurath
01-17-2009, 01:50 AM
Anyways, I'm adding Heal to my thematic objections list. I'm upset the authors didn't align Heal with Life. Which means I have a real grudge against Clever. Maybe that's the point. Whenever someone says "Clevermancy" I think of phrases like "You're being clever," or "You think you're clever, don't you?" and all the emotions those imply.Life magic requires a modecum of social interaction: Hocus Pocus is about decision making, Eyemancy influences what and how people perceive things, and the other two... Their names seem to imply a degree of people skills are required. You don't need to interact with others to heal them, as indicated by the Aloof Elves being healers for the Coalition.

dr pepper
01-17-2009, 02:52 AM
Panel 8 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0114.html): By Luck or by Fate or by Numbers.

My theory: What we are determining is how each axis divides up the classes of magic into disciplines. The names of the axes, however, are based on how the casters determine which discipline they favor based on what they believe.

Erf Discipline: It's all about Luck, there's no system that brings things to fall into order. I'll just do what I can as Duty calls and Loyalty allows and hope I'm still standing at the end of the turn with my head held high.

Fate Discipline: The Titans have a plan, and I have a role to play in it. Whether great or small, I shape the world to the will of the Titans. (Note how Croakmancer Wanda cites Fate as she charges Ansom during her aerial attack.)

Numbers Discipline: There is an order to things, as those who believe in Fate prescribe, but the Titans do not have an active hand in it. It is but another tool, an ethereal Fifth Tool, to be wielded against those who would use it against you.

Those sound like alignments to me.

Ganurath
01-17-2009, 02:59 AM
Those sound like alignments to me.Well, personal beliefs, philosophy, and *sigh* alignment will inevitably have an impact on what sort of magic one has a talent for. Can you imagine Sizemore, who abhors killing people, as a Croakmancer? Wanda as a Hippiemancer? Maggie as a Dirtmancer?

01-17-2009, 07:27 AM
You're really starting to get somewhere. But your theory can be entirely self consistent and perfectly explain everything and I will still harbor some small grudge that SOMEONE chose Luck to be Erf instead of Fate. They're freaking synonyms. (http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/fate) This isn't a problem with your theory, it's a personal beef with the authors.
(...)
This thesaurus takes too broad connections between words. Fate (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=28148&dict=CALD) is about thing that are bound to happen because of some greater plan - it means, that there is a being steering reality on purpose and with a specific outcome in mind. Fate is about inevitable.
Luck (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=47604&dict=CALD) is all about randomness, chaos - it's definately oposite to any rules or planing. Nudge your dice rolls, swap your cards, when nobody sees - that's the way to go. Luck is also in power to cheat the Fate.

About Healomancy not being connected with Life. It might be, because Life disciplines seem to be about affecting emotions, perception and actions of living beings. If healing isn't connected with Life, then i would persume, that Healomancer would be able to patch up any kind of a unit, but we have no information about it.
Still Healomancy fits well with Fate: "You cannot die - you have yet a role to play."

DevilDan
01-17-2009, 02:37 PM
Well, personal beliefs, philosophy, and *sigh* alignment will inevitably have an impact on what sort of magic one has a talent for. Can you imagine Sizemore, who abhors killing people, as a Croakmancer? Wanda as a Hippiemancer? Maggie as a Dirtmancer?

Who knows how it works? It's been theorized that Wanda was originally not a croakamancer under Banhammer.

And it's possible that one's magical aptitude will affect the development of one's personality... whatever isn't already decided from the moment you're popped.

Tubercular Ox
01-17-2009, 08:02 PM
Those sound like alignments to me.
I have a different opinion than Ganurath. Yes, they are alignments, and there's no sigh to go with it. In fact, I'll add a slammer. Yes, they are alignments! Parson even says, "Magic is 'aligned' on three axes," (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0040.html) his emphasis. I take this to mean aligned is important vocabulary in Erfworld and not just word choice. Some people (weasel word!) even use the word "axis" when describing D&D alignment; it only shows up twice, but it's casually thrown in on the Wiki article for Alignment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alignment_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons)), and the right google search shows its popularity. I even think the usage is in the books, but... I don't have my books with me right now!

That doesn't mean you can shoehorn them into analogies with D&D alignment, though. I think it's a different way of dividing up the full range of human belief. Well, not the full range...

This thesaurus takes too broad connections between words. Fate (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=28148&dict=CALD) is about thing that are bound to happen because of some greater plan - it means, that there is a being steering reality on purpose and with a specific outcome in mind. Fate is about inevitable.
Luck (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=47604&dict=CALD) is all about randomness, chaos - it's definately oposite to any rules or planing. Nudge your dice rolls, swap your cards, when nobody sees - that's the way to go. Luck is also in power to cheat the Fate.

So this is going to sound like a tangent, but here's what went through my head reading this. First, I went back to the beginning: What is magic? We could tie up the rest of the thread discussing that; even the professionals can't agree. I've read several sources and their differing opinions, but "human ability to control or predict the natural world through supernatural means (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_(paranormal))" has a wide currency and is useful to me here.

The key words are control or predict. Feeling lazy, so keep reading control as "control or predict." So what I hear you saying is that Fate is control over a future already decided, while Luck is control over vagaries that can change your future. Alright, that seems plausible. But jumping right into "Erf = Luck" doesn't really account for the rest of the list. I'm sure someone can find a way to shoehorn the other magics into Luck, but, following some metagaming here, if the authors had wanted Erf to be Luck, they would have called it Luck. Further, that leaves Math out in the cold. It obviously belongs in Numbers, but it definitely is "predict the vagaries that can change your future." Identifying Erf as a philosophy centering around a "down to Erf" point of view seems more plausible; shoehorning Luck into that is probably easier than shoehorning the rest of the list into Luck.

So, the thematic distinctions for the three axes. Here is where I am:

Fate: A belief in inevitability, constantly keeping in mind the nature of magic to control. Croak, Heal, and Predict control/predict the inevitable. Think... you gotta look at the control aspects of Think. Loyalty, for example, sets you on an inevitable path of service. Bah, Think needs work, I'm shoehorning.

Numbers: The wold is run by numbers, which can be used to control events. Math is the unambiguous example. Money seems like it would be the little brother to Math. Fool... I need a shoehorn for Fool.

Erf: A "down to Erf" point of view. A very vague term but it needs to be to cover the full range of magic in this axis. It's also rather philosophical while the first two are more descriptive. I view this as a flaw, but moving forward: As one expression, effort gives you control over your own destiny (Flower? Luck.). As another, the material world around us is the one that is real and can be manipulated (Dirt, Find, Look, Shock). Dunno where to shoehorn in Hat, if Ansom's top hat is indeed Hat. A third expression or one of the other two?

A natural consequence of viewing them like this is that they arrange themselves into a triangle. Each has its own specialty, which means you can bind the other two together and throw them at the bottom end of the pole the original axis is the top of. Fate and Numbers look to the future, Erf looks to the present. Numbers and Erf feel uncertainty, Fate sees only one course. And Erf and Fate do not see chance as a factor, while Numbers does.

I suppose that last one needs more explaining. Certainly Fate sees nothing left to chance. Erf has a different excuse: It is effort, not chance, that determines success. Hence, Luck: Magical effort can eliminate the role of chance. We may need another near-synonym here. The distinction is clear in my head but chance doesn't seem to cover it.

I might be relying too much on Math as the exemplar of Numbers. If it's wrong for Luck, it's wrong for Math.

All our theories have things that need to be shoehorned in. It can all be made to fit, but some parts fit easier than others. I think we have to accept the metagame here and realize that the authors came up with magics needed for the plot of the story first -- Croak, Dirt, Think, Math, Fool, and the other bit parts -- and then did their own shoehorning to fit it into this elements/axes system.

If healing isn't connected with Life, then i would presume, that Healomancer would be able to patch up any kind of a unit, but we have no information about it.

Actually, now that you mention it, there is in fact a panel (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0022.html) of an elf apparently healing a battering ram. PS to Ganurath: There's Lofty Elves and Altruist Elves, not Aloof Elves. I'm pretty sure it's Lofty as in lofty ideals.

quindraco
01-17-2009, 09:39 PM
My first question about the proposed system is, what about Hat Magic? We've seen it used, for communications. Under your system, hat magic is stagemancy, which is "bad for them, front lines, affects people". Unless hat magic has other, radically different uses, I think it throws a wrench at your idea. Which is unfortunate, because I think it was a really good one.

I think the "school of magic" (as in hocus pocus vs. stage magic) is a red herring, incidentally. As your chart quite handily shows, if you rearrange the columns, every actual magic sphere (as in croakamancy vs. hat magic) is entirely coded for by specifying a number of the form abcd, where a, b, and c are in binary and d is in trinary. That is, 0/1 and 0/1/2 respectively - d codes for Erf/Fate/Numbers, and I see no reason to believe that it matters more or less than the other three: life, motion, and matter.

So, for example, note that healomancy and predictamancy differ by only one "bit", whereas healomancy and hat magic are as different as it is possible to be.

Ganurath
01-18-2009, 05:08 AM
My first question about the proposed system is, what about Hat Magic? We've seen it used, for communications. Under your system, hat magic is stagemancy, which is "bad for them, front lines, affects people". Unless hat magic has other, radically different uses, I think it throws a wrench at your idea. Which is unfortunate, because I think it was a really good one.Hat Magic does on the frontlines what Lookamancy does from the sidelines: Provides the people who make decisions with information that can be used to hurt the enemy. In the use we've seen, it gives any unit the benefits of a scout's natural Thinkmancy. I personally hypothesize that Hat Magic can be used to move more than messages: Salvaged magic items, rogue patches of resources, maybe even troops if the hats are big enough.

I like your binary/trinary analysis. The only trend in the impact elements seem to have on the magic is complexity: Clevermancy does simpler stuff than Hocus-Pocus, Spookism, and Stuffmancy, which are in turn less complex than Eyemancy, Hippiemancy, and Naughtymancy, and they're all less elaborate than Stagemancy.

Tubercular Ox
01-18-2009, 06:17 PM
Hat Magic does on the frontlines what Lookamancy does from the sidelines: Provides the people who make decisions with information that can be used to hurt the enemy. In the use we've seen, it gives any unit the benefits of a scout's natural Thinkmancy. I personally hypothesize that Hat Magic can be used to move more than messages: Salvaged magic items, rogue patches of resources, maybe even troops if the hats are big enough.

Eeei, no, you're starting to sound like an astrologist justifying his predictions. I mean, take one of your examples: Rogue patches of resources. You send out some mining gobwins into the mountains of Faq where there is no opposition and they Hat to the Gobwin Knob treasury the gems they dig up. Now Hat -- a type of Stage -- is performing what is probably a similar function to Money, a type of Clever. And yet you have exactly opposite descriptions for the two functions.

I think you're focusing too much on effects -- what is affected, how it is affected, and where it is affected. We should focus more on causes, what circumstances bring out the effects. We must consider effects. Think creates mental effects, Heal... heals. But this is too far.

Doshi
01-19-2009, 12:56 PM
Hi, Ganurath, reading this thread has given me some new ideas about Erf world. It seems to me that on Erf, the qualities of Life, Motion and Matter constrain and limit the power of Magic. For example, Sizemore, as a Dirtamancer, practices a form of Magic that can't change the fundamental nature of Matter, but can give Matter the qualities of Life and Motion. So Sizemore can't transform Matter (ie. He can't change crap into diamonds. He had to mine diamonds.) But he can move Matter around to create tunnels, and can make almost any form of Matter Lifelike by making it a Golem. Making a Golem requires that the Matter not only be Given Life, but Moved into the form of a physical body. That is why Wanda can't create Golems while acting as a Croakamancer. As a Croakamancer, she can confer Life, but she can't Move Matter into a useful form, and therefore only confers Life on things that already have a useful form but lack Life, namely dead bodies.
Maggie, as a Thinkamancer, can't give Life to anything that doesn't already have it, or set Matter in Motion, but she can confer certain new properties on some forms of Matter. She can make a unit (of Matter) inherently Loyal, or give a unit (of Matter) a new ability to communicate. Jack, as a Foolamancer, is equally constrained with regard to Life and Motion, but can create new, illusionary Matter which neither Move or possess Life. (Though the Matter Jack creates can have the appearance of Life or Motion.) Why are they different?

Consider, what exactly do Erf, Fate and Numbers mean? Imagine how Magic would operate in a World where there were no limits to Magic. An Erfworld theorist like Sizemore might say that Clevermancy provides us with a dim perception of what pure Magic would be like in such a World. Luckamancy is the power to manipulate probability. In the absence of constraints on Magics ability to manipulate Life, Motion and Matter, anything would be possible, and therefore probability control would equal Omnipotence. Erf, therefore, means Power, and everyone in a World without constraint would be able to use Erf to do anything. In the absence of constraint, Healomancy would confer Immortality, and thus it would be the Fate of everyone to be Eternal. In the absence of constraint, Moneymancy would extend to infinity, and therefore everyone would have infinite resources. That is why the Titans, whose Magic is not constrained, are Omnipotent, Eternal and Infinite.

Stagemancy is the most constrained type of magic, since it is limited in regards to Life , Motion and Matter. That is why it resembles the fake, unreal, magic of stage magicians on our (or Parson's) world.

Erf is the Power to manipulate probability, Fate is the tendency for things to become Eternal, Numbers move between Infinity and Zero.

Misty had the power to know the location of units of Matter. How did she do this? Anyone can make a guess about where a unit of Matter is located. Stanley tries to guess where a Dwagon is located. He might guess correctly, but it's far more probable that he will guess incorrectly. But Stanley can't manipulate the probability that he will guess correctly in the way that Misty did. She guessed correctly 100% of the time, unless some other caster was interfering with the probability that she would guess correctly.

Maggie can strengthen the linkages between Units, by allowing them to communicate more perfectly and increasing their loyalty. In this way, she allows relationships to more closely approximate the Eternal Loyalty that would exist between units if there were no limits on the power of Fate.

Jack can change the Number of things that are perceived, but can't affect Life or Motion. Anson swings his arm towards an object Jack has just created. If Jack's object could stop the Motion of Anson's arm, then Jack would have affected Motion. But Jack's magic can't directly affect Motion, which is why Anson's arm passes though Jack's object without altering its Motion. That's why the Matter Jack creates is illusionary.

Tubercular Ox
01-19-2009, 03:04 PM
So Sizemore can't transform Matter (ie. He can't change crap into diamonds. He had to mine diamonds.) Making a Golem requires that the Matter not only be Given Life, but Moved into the form of a physical body. That is why Wanda can't create Golems while acting as a Croakamancer. As a Croakamancer, she can confer Life, but she can't Move Matter into a useful form, and therefore only confers Life on things that already have a useful form but lack Life, namely dead bodies.

I think the problem here is that for Dirt you have associated life with motion, but for Croak Life exists without Motion.

Your description of Fool makes me uncomfortable, but at least you have created a definition of Numbers that is not synonymous with Math. I think the discomfort is that you are using the word Number in two different senses when discussing Math vs. discussing Fool, but maybe I'm simply not being broadminded enough. Especially given the multiple senses I've spun on Erf. Were Math Clever, we could then define Erf as Luck and Number as Math... that'd leave Fate defined as Heal, but given your definition of Fate that would seem to be appropriate.

Unfortunately, Math is Hocus Pocus, and defining Number as Money would seem straight out. But both of us having opened the gate for metaphoric interpretations, let's look at my overbroad thesaurus' opinion on Number. (http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/number) Right away I see cipher, which makes me glad I did this, because that is then synonymous with puzzle or code, which would be a great description for Fool. Given Date's position in Hippie my first opinion was that it had something to do with seduction, charm, and going on dates... but maybe it has to do with the calendar and astrology, or, more excitingly, numerology. Rhyme has a measured meter, Math would be tightly constrained as statistics instead of just arithmetic in general. Money relates to accounting, which is just giving an account of your finances. Delete would be simple subtraction. That leaves Ditto and Weird. Dunno what to do with those.

Doshi
01-19-2009, 04:32 PM
Tubercular Ox, I think the fundamental question is, how do we interpret Sizemore's diagram. When we see an X in the Matter column next to Dirtomancy, does that mean a Dirtomancer has power over Matter, or does it mean that a Dirtomancer is constrained by the nature of Matter? When I first read Parson's klog with the Diagram, we didn't yet know what a dirtomancer could do, and I wondered if it might be like an alchemist, someone able to change the structure of Matter, but who cannot move it around or give it Life. But it turns out it's the exact opposite. Sizemore can create tunnels. How do you think he does that? Does he Move Earth and Stone around, or does he Change Earth and Stone into air? If he did the later, if he could change the chemical composition of matter so dramatically, wouldn't his other abilities also reflect that talent? Couldn't he turn his enemies to stone, for instance?
Wanda can uncroak dead bodies. Unlike a pile of crap, which can't move without magic, a dead body could move, if it wasn't dead. So Wanda doesn't need to be able to magically Move Matter to get a dead body to Move. Once the body is uncroaked (ie. given a small quantity of Life), it can move on it's own, the way it did before it died.
Sizemore creates Golems. How? An undifferentiated piece of stone or crap or metal suddenly Moves together to form a body similar to that possessed by living things. Then this formerly non living Matter temporarily acquires the abilities of Life. It responds to orders. But it remains whatever type of Matter it was to begin with. A crap Golem is still made of crap, and therefore is less hard than a metal or stone Golem. Doesn't it seem to you that this implies that Sizemore can magically confer Life and Motion, but can't change Matter?

Moneymancy focuses on the most fundamental question relating to Numbers. Do you have enough Money? Can you afford enough units to win the war? Can you buy expensive spells? Can you even afford enough food to avoid being disbanded tomorrow? I don't think Moneymancy is just accounting. Rather, I think Moneymancy is the magic of getting more money. That's why it's a more fundamental discipline that Mathemancy. It's very useful to be able to use Mathemancy (statistics) to predict how fights will go, based on the numbers, but if you don't have enough money, than even the best Mathemancer will have starved to death. That's why Moneymancy and not Mathemancy is the Clever form of Number magic.
Dittomancy refers to the magic of copying Life and Motion. So someone does something, the Dittomancer says "Ditto", and then Dittomancy makes the same thing happen again.
With regard to Spookism, I think the Spookist has power over Life and Matter, but not Motion. So maybe a Spookist can create a copy of another unit, which can't Move. Perhaps he can then make that copied unit serve him, or interrogate the copy to learn his enemies secrets. So Anson comes into the room to fight the Spookist and finds he must first defeat a copy of himself. That would be weird, wouldn't it?

Godskook
01-19-2009, 06:04 PM
Jack can change the Number of things that are perceived, but can't affect Life or Motion. Anson swings his arm towards an object Jack has just created. If Jack's object could stop the Motion of Anson's arm, then Jack would have affected Motion. But Jack's magic can't directly affect Motion, which is why Anson's arm passes though Jack's object without altering its Motion. That's why the Matter Jack creates is illusionary.

Wow, interesting thoughts, for the most part. However, Jack's illusions *CAN* stop motion. Jillian's sword is stopped by illusionary dwagon flesh, while Jillian is prevented from falling by hanging from an illusionary dwagon. Not to mention the gwiffon.

dr pepper
01-19-2009, 06:37 PM
I love this discussion! Even if it's totally wrong, it could be the basis for creating a magic system in some other game. I especially like how aristotelian the categories are.

Tubercular Ox
01-19-2009, 06:46 PM
Tubercular Ox, I think the fundamental question is, how do we interpret Sizemore's diagram. When we see an X in the Matter column next to Dirtomancy, does that mean a Dirtomancer has power over Matter, or does it mean that a Dirtomancer is constrained by the nature of Matter?

You're very compelling, but it seems a counterintuitive way to interpret the diagram. I mean, yes, Dirt isn't alchemy, but there is Change right next to it, which probably is alchemy. So I've turned your counterexample into a prediction. And now I'll make up a reason: Dirt cannot change the fate of an object. Crap will always be crap. But Change could. So why is Dirt Erf and how does that define Sizemore's interactions with it? It is of mystery!

I'm big on intuitive, which you probably gathered. Make some more predictions for me on what you think the other schools would do. More comparisons like the one you made for Dirt and Ditto.

I don't think Moneymancy is just accounting. Rather, I think Moneymancy is the magic of getting more money.
Heh. I don't find those statements contradictory. In school, they teach you Financial Accounting: how to know where your money is. Then they teach you Managerial Accounting: what it means when your money is in certain places. And then you get out of school and learn on the white collar streets Creative Accounting: Putting money where you need it without anyone knowing where it came from. Sounds like getting more money to me. But then, I can be cynical.

quindraco
01-19-2009, 07:28 PM
Tubercular Ox, I think the fundamental question is, how do we interpret Sizemore's diagram. When we see an X in the Matter column next to Dirtomancy, does that mean a Dirtomancer has power over Matter, or does it mean that a Dirtomancer is constrained by the nature of Matter?

Wow, it never even occurred to me to look at the diagram like that, but you're right. I don't think we've had any confirmation whether an x means "has" or "doesn't have"; I've been assuming the former, but looking at it the other way leads to some *really exciting* interpretations. E.g. it means all of healomancy, croakamancy, and dirtamancy "have" Life - which makes sense, since all can be applied to organic material (note that Sizemore in particular is quite skilled with poop, which is almost entirely organic and more than 50% alive by dry weight - I assume he can also do amazing things with rich soil).

I'm now even more excited to see shockmancy in action. It only differs from dirtmancy in the motion content, and we've seen many uses of dirtmancy, so I think seeing shockmancy finally will reveal a lot.

On the other hand, the difference between dirtmancy and luckmancy is the matter bit. It's been pretty heavily implied what luckmancy does, if nothing else based on the discussion in which Sizemore explains that a luckmancer + mathamancer = a WINmancer. ;) I really don't know how to interpret that; regardless of whether dirt has matter and luck doesn't, or vice versa, they seem really drastically different. On the other hand, predictamancy and luckmancy differ in both "efn" and life, but seem extremely similar. I would have assumed luck, predict, and math were in the same row in that table if I were constructing it myself.

I would REALLY like a klog in which Sizemore gives a dissertation on this.

Tubercular Ox
01-19-2009, 11:45 PM
I would REALLY like a klog in which Sizemore gives a dissertation on this.

I'd be satisfied if someone ninja'd into the authors' home and rescued the napkin they worked this out on.

Doshi
01-19-2009, 11:50 PM
Here are a few other suggestions about what some of the other types of magic might possibly be like, based on my idea that the X 's in Sizemore's diagram refer to the areas where the caster's powers are limited. Obviously since we have less information about these types of magic, the chances of my being right about them are also less.

We know that Hippymancers can calm battles, based on Wanda's comment to Sizemore when she asked him why he was studying Hippymancy. Hippymancers can control Motion, but are constrained from controlling Life or Matter. They calm battles by preventing units from Moving into a position where they can attack one another.

Turnamancers have power over Life and Matter, but not Motion. Units can Move during their own Turns, and to a limited degree during their opponents Turns, but they can't move during the transition from one player's turn to another player's turn. That moment of transition is when the side whose turn is coming up has their wounds healed (Life Magic) and receives the day's rations (Matter Magic). Maybe Turnamancy can increase the amount of supplies and healing one's own side receives during Turn change, or reduce the amount of supplies or healing one's opponent receives when it is their turn.

Dollamancers also have Life and Matter, but not Motion. This might be like the use of voodoo dolls. One can affect the Life of an opponent, by sticking a needle in the inanimate Matter of a doll.

Shockmancy and Deletionism both affect Life, but not Motion or Matter. Deletionism is the ability to delete Life. Shockmancy, by contrast, might possibly be the ability to add more Life to an already Living unit. Maybe this would dramatically increase the unit's abilities for a short time, but possibly require them to rest afterwards to recover. It might even be something like being hit by a lighting bolt. Receiving too much Life might eventually burn out a unit, killing them.

DevilDan
01-20-2009, 12:07 AM
I'd be satisfied if someone ninja'd into the authors' home and rescued the napkin they worked this out on.

Except that, unlike Supply-Side Economics, Erf's magic system probably does make sense.

BRC
01-23-2009, 10:49 PM

Ganurath
01-24-2009, 01:10 AM
It appears that "Shockamancy" dosn't involve electricity, but instead Shock-links.Still direct and destructive no matter how you spin it.

Tubercular Ox
01-24-2009, 02:59 AM
Still direct and destructive no matter how you spin it.

I agree. Like I said in the main discussion thread, I'm still open to the idea that physical damage is involved. There have been more metaphorical puns than this before. Some of Wanda's summoning incantations on the walls, for example.

Balance
01-25-2009, 02:59 AM
In light of the new evidence on Shockmancy, I'm going to take a step back, and review what some of the branches of magic actually do. Some of these are things we've seen in use, others are my guesses as to their capabilities. An assessment of their functions may be useful in our theorizing.

Hocus Pocus (One of the better defined schools. All three branches come up in canon.)

Findamancy--Used to locate people and/or things. May possibly be used to summon/conjure located target. The Summoning spell was part Findamancy.

Predictamancy--Used to foretell events, like troop movements. Faq used Predictamancy to determine which city outsiders would approach, then veiled that city.

Mathamancy--Used to predict probabilities. Thus far, we have only seen it used to predict the outcome of battles based on initial conditions and strategies employed.

Spookism (Haven't seen any of these in use. Pure speculation abounds.)

Turnamancy--Possibly used to affect turn order or duration in some way. May affect the Movement stat of troops.

Dollamancy--I see two possibilities. Either this is the magic used to animate cloth golems and similar constructs, or it's used to manipulate things via the medium of dolls (like voodoo dolls). These are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Weirdomancy--???

Stuffamancy (Deals with...stuff.)

Dirtamancy--Used to manipulate earth and, er, "earthy" substances. Makes, controls, and heals golems of earth materials.

Changeamancy--At a guess, transmutation. Used to change one type of material into another. May even be capable of changing critters, but I'm dubious of that.

Dittomancy--I strongly suspect this is used to duplicate things.

Eyemancy (Again, pretty well established in canon.)

Lookamancy--Clairvoyance. Used to see things at a distance. The Summoning spell was part Lookamancy.

Thinkamancy--Used to communicate by thought and to control or manipulate the minds of others.

Foolamancy--Used to create illusions.

Hippiemancy (We know this field largely by inference.)

Flower power--Used to calm beings and create peace. (May also cause distortion in one's awareness of time.)

Signamancy--Theme-based speculation: astrology, prophecy, and/or omens. Long-term and general predictions, rather than the short-term, focused applications of Predictamancy.

Date-a-mancy--Speculation: Date- or turn-based numerology. Prediction of auspicious times for various actions. "Your lucky number is four. Wait until the fourth turn to commit your forces."

Naughtymancy (We've seen two forms in action now.)

Croakamancy--Animation, control, and buffing of undead.

Shockmancy--Direct offensive magic, in more than one sense. Shockmancy has been demonstrated to have a kinetic effect, knocking units down. It's not entirely clear whether or not it deals actual damage, but I think it likely. Assuming (as I strongly suspect) that magic is color coded (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ColorCodedWizardry"), Shockmancy was also used in Jillian's torture (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0030.html).

Deletionism--Speculation: Direct, complete elimination of things. This is distinct from croaking units in that it doesn't involve damaging them--it just makes them go away. The opposite of Dittomancy, in a sense.

Stagemancy (Not much to go on here. We've only seen the hats, as far as I can tell.)

Hat Magic--Used in canon to create magic hats that can cause things to disappear from one hat and appear in another. May extend to other stage-magic tricks like vanishing cabinets, conjuration of small objects, and such, but there's no canon indication of that yet. Conceivably, Portal Park in the Magic Kingdom could be the product of really powerful Hat Magic.

Carnymancy--No canon references, and the carny reference doesn't narrow it down much. Perhaps something to do with physical manipulation of units, as related to freakshows? Contortion tricks, firebreathing, and such? Beats me.

Rhyme-o-mancy--The only thing that comes to mind is spells that are spoken in rhyme, but that doesn't tell us anything about the effects of those spells. Completely wild guess: It's used to buff or debuff non-physical stats of units, like Morale or Loyalty. (Fight songs, corps songs, etc. Bardic magic.)

Clevermancy (The abstract arts, with no relation to Life, Motion, or Matter elements.)

Luckmancy--Used to tilt the odds in battle, presumably by influencing normally random occurrences.

Healomancy--Healing. Restores lost hits to units, and may be able to remove certain status effects. I would expect Healomancy to be able to cure the poison from a spidews bite, for example (assuming that poison works over time).

Moneymancy--Money seems to be obtained from mines, farms, and such in Erfworld. (Why farm when food pops into existence automatically, otherwise?) Moneymancy may be used to alter the amount of money produced by such holdings.

I'll start delving into what I think some of this means in another post.

Godskook
01-25-2009, 05:32 AM
Carnymancy--No canon references, and the carny reference doesn't narrow it down much. Perhaps something to do with physical manipulation of units, as related to freakshows? Contortion tricks, firebreathing, and such? Beats me.

Some of us are betting the farm that the Arkenhammer is related to Carnymancy.

01-25-2009, 08:54 AM
While I think magic is color coded, I think the color is more general then for a specific type of spell. A color tends to represent the magics general purpose. As a point, the Suggestion Spell was yellow, Shockamancy is yellow and the magic Wanda used on the guard after Jillian's torture session was yellow as well (altered his memory). Together that makes it seem that yellow would be the color for magic that effects the mind.

Decius
01-25-2009, 10:50 PM
I don't see anyone in canon ever referring to the hat as a "Hat Magic" Magic item... The only referent it has is:
J: Is it dual use?
A: Abjuration only

Nowhere in the klogs is abjuration mentioned.

In Klog 2, Parson writes:
"I have to wonder how much anyone here really knows about their own world. What he told me sounds a lot like that crap about the four basic elements that everyone believed for centuries just because Aristotle said it."

I also read the axis differently from anyone else, apparently. I see Erf as "Things/physical/changes", Fate as "choices/thoughts/actions" and Numbers as "Concepts/abstract"

of the elements, I think Life refers to creatures, motion refers to change/movement/action, and matter refers to inanimate material forms

And I think that any inconsistency is intentional- The characters do not understand how magic actually works, they just found a neat little way of categorizing it. At least two of them, in fact: the major grid of elements/classes/axes/disciplines in Klog 2, and the method that uses schools(?) mentioned by Jillian and Ansom. Also, they are not mutually exclusive, as Ansom and co. use at least some of the same discipline terms used by GK.

SteveMB
01-25-2009, 11:16 PM
I don't see anyone in canon ever referring to the hat as a "Hat Magic" Magic item... The only referent it has is:
J: Is it dual use?
A: Abjuration only

Nowhere in the klogs is abjuration mentioned.

Obviously, we're relying on the assumption that a magic hat is an example of Hat Magic. The assumption could be wrong, but it's a reasonable starting point unless something specifically contradicts it.

My best guess on "abjuration only" is that it refers to the hat's one-way function (to send messages and not receive them). A related usage of the word is "abjuration of the realm" (accepting exile and heading out of the country as quickly as possible).

I have a hunch that Parson's doubts about the magic system (is it how things really work in Erfworld, or just the way the natives think things work?) isn't really aimed at the magic system, but rather is intended to foreshadow the same question about the mechanics of Duty and Loyalty (are people's behaviors really controlled by these elements of "Natural Thinkamancy", or is that just how they interpret things?)

quindraco
01-26-2009, 11:30 AM
Some of us are betting the farm that the Arkenhammer is related to Carnymancy.

The only reference to Arkentools being related to areas of magic that I recall is the explanation that the Arkenpliers resonate with Fate magic. Do we have any direct evidence that they align with specific schools?

Even assuming they do, do we have evidence that they do it at the level you suggest? E.g. might the Arkenhammer instead align with "Stagemancy"?

Godskook
01-26-2009, 12:22 PM
While I think magic is color coded, I think the color is more general then for a specific type of spell. A color tends to represent the magics general purpose. As a point, the Suggestion Spell was yellow, Shockamancy is yellow and the magic Wanda used on the guard after Jillian's torture session was yellow as well (altered his memory). Together that makes it seem that yellow would be the color for magic that effects the mind.

Thinkamancy has always been blue, to my knowledge. As far as suggestion spells go, which one are you talking about? The one Wanda was shown casting on Jillian? That could've easily been shockamancy used as a torture tool to break Jillian's resolve before the more interesting parts of the session began.

The only reference to Arkentools being related to areas of magic that I recall is the explanation that the Arkenpliers resonate with Fate magic. Do we have any direct evidence that they align with specific schools?

Even assuming they do, do we have evidence that they do it at the level you suggest? E.g. might the Arkenhammer instead align with "Stagemancy"?

No direct evidence of it, just pattern recognition. Maggie explicitly states a correlation between the Arkendish and thinkamancy here (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0098.html). It doesn't limit the dish to thinkamancy, but I'm personally assuming it is anyway. The Arkenhammer has abilities that are reminiscent of a carnival(walnuts<->pigeons, van de graff, dwagon taming, that hammer game (http://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/2071506/2/istockphoto_2071506_test_of_strength.jpg)). The pliers aren't attuned, but are still very clearly related to the uncroaked in some way(I'll admit that it is unclear if this capability is only true of the Arkenpliers). That, combined with Wanda's interaction with Ansom, suggests that they are croakmancy related.

Also, Carnymancy is the fate school of Stagemancy, so I have no idea what your point there was.

Ganurath
01-26-2009, 02:28 PM
The only reference to Arkentools being related to areas of magic that I recall is the explanation that the Arkenpliers resonate with Fate magic. Do we have any direct evidence that they align with specific schools?Croakmancy is Fate magic, so I imagine the pliers have power over the uncroaked beyond being able to 1-Hit most varieties of them. That, and Wanda wants to be touched with them...

Balance
01-28-2009, 12:55 AM
I'm not sure there's any point to pursuing the color-coding idea. The various colors we've seen suggest that if there is a pattern, it's not subject to ready analysis without more info. A quick summary of color associations I've noted, in case someone else spots something:

The Magic Kingdom (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0011.html) is split into colored wedges around Portal Park. The colors are dark green, dark yellow, red, light green, gray, purple, yellow, and blue. The 8 wedges might be expected to correspond with the 8 schools--dark green with Hippiemancy, for example, since the glade of the Hippiemancers is in that wedge. It does not seem to be quite that straightforward, however.

The Summoning spell is blue, and associated with both Lookamancy and Findamancy. Its manifestation also includes a sizable amount of red, and I'm not sure how much was just the Tron reference. Maybe the Findamancy part is red?

The spells Wanda uses on Jillian and Mung are yellow, perhaps with a red or orange tinge. So is Sizemore's Shockmancy spell.

The spell Sizemore used to heal his golem ("Pozzolano") was bright yellow.

All of Wanda's personal magic--trioxin, the shield, the auras on her uncroaked air units--seems to be red. Parson's sword also seems to have a red aura when active.

All thinkagrams, the archons' auras, the Arkendish (not to mention Charlie's whole fortress), and Maggie's Ephedra spell have been blue.

Parson's Mathamancy bracer has blue highlights.

The Arkenhammer's lightning is blue.

The visible manifestation of Foolamancy we've seen was purple.

Hat magic--Titans help us--appears to be purple with yellow sparkles.

The Foolamancer wears purple. (This seems to fit.)

The Lookamancer wore orange. (This, not so much.)

The Thinkamancer wears gray. (Huh? The clothing colors may have no significance at all.)

quindraco
01-28-2009, 01:09 PM
Godskook:
Also, Carnymancy is the fate school of Stagemancy, so I have no idea what your point there was.

My point is that the arkenhammer, supposing it aligns with magic, could align with entire "fields" of magic. Do we have any reason to believe that the hammer shares the plier's affinity to Fate specifically? Even if we do, there are 8 Fate schools, so a given item could align with more than one for all we know.

Godskook
01-28-2009, 06:12 PM
My point is that the arkenhammer, supposing it aligns with magic, could align with entire "fields" of magic. Do we have any reason to believe that the hammer shares the plier's affinity to Fate specifically?

Ansom's statement was "But fate magic is powerless in my case; I cannot unlock their secrets." Best read I can have is that he is referring to the Arkentools as a whole, just like Vinny did a panel before. So I'd say that yes, as much as we have reason to believe that the pliers are fate-aligned, so is the hammer.

Of course, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that the tools have access to entire field, but it seems that way to me.

Even if we do, there are 8 Fate schools, so a given item could align with more than one for all we know.

Possible, but to me, it seems less likely than if they align with only one school, especially since the only tool that seems to me to have possibilities in multiple schools is the pliers, which aren't attuned yet(could be either Healomancy or Croakamancy, though Croakamancy seems more likely).

Fjolnir
01-28-2009, 10:34 PM
I had a similar theory on the arkentools here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5449117&postcount=1) though I agree the magic system in this particular game seems rather well thought out generally because MOST of what we see doesn't overlap too much with other schools. I think that a caster is probably fairly specialized fitting into a School (one of the 8 major -mancies ) and a subschool (like dirt- and think-) which makes learning other magics extremely difficult if you aren't very very talented (wanda vs sizemore for example) mastery of your class probably requires a decent amount of time and effort and doesn't allow for too much splashwork (wanda being an exeption, not a rule here)

Bonus: A theory about the archons not attacking the foes in airspace even if they aren't lead: the arkendish is a thinkamancy -tool what's not to say that every single archon isn't led by charlie who sits on his massive chair directing them all via his magic speakerbox?

DevilDan
01-29-2009, 01:31 PM
Bonus: A theory about the archons not attacking the foes in airspace even if they aren't lead: the arkendish is a thinkamancy -tool what's not to say that every single archon isn't led by charlie who sits on his massive chair directing them all via his magic speakerbox?

This possibility was discussed when we were wondering whether some or all archons could be casters.

Fjolnir
01-29-2009, 09:18 PM
I may have missed it, though I think the idea makes sense since he seems to toss out stacks that seem to be in multiples of 7 or less to do jobs "can 14 archons storm GK in a turn?" which would imply a missing unit which MIGHT be a warlord, denying the max stack bonus to employ maximum battlefield control

Balance
01-31-2009, 05:47 PM
Back to the analysis...

So far, we've concentrated heavily on the classes* of magic. Let's try taking a look at the axes instead, in light of my speculations above. I'll start with Numbers.

Mathamancy--Used to predict probabilities.
Weirdomancy--???
Dittomancy--Used to duplicate things.
Foolamancy--Used to create illusions.
Date-a-mancy--Prediction of auspicious times for various actions.
Deletionism--Direct elimination of things or units, without applying damage.
Rhyme-o-mancy--Buff or debuff non-physical stats of units, like Morale or Loyalty. (Maybe physical stats, too.)
Moneymancy--Alter the amount of money produced by holdings and/or alter upkeep costs.

Based on this, let's consider the possibility that the Numbers axis is concerned with manipulating Erf's "game mechanics" directly, rather than through the normal medium of units/resources. If we think of Erfworld as a game, Numbers is about rolling dice and scribbling stuff on the character sheets.

The proposed functions of Mathamancy, Dittomancy, Deletionism, and Moneymancy seem consistent with this interpretation, are the ones in which I believe my speculation is best-founded.

Mathamancy is plain old number-crunching. "If I roll a d6, I have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the six I need to beat that stack."

Dittomancy is changing the number of something you have. "I have a stack of eight uncroaked. *scribble* Now I have two stacks of eight."

Deletionism is erasing units from a roster. "You have a dwagon. *erase* Not anymore."

Moneymancy is modifying the money stat on things. "Upkeep on Parson is a thousand schmuckers. Let's erase that last zero, so he only costs 100 this turn."

Date-a-mancy is a bit more fuzzy, but it could relate to timed effects. "In three turns, my opponent's buff will wear off, leaving him weaker until he recasts it. That's my window of opportunity."

That leaves Weirdomancy, Foolamancy, and Rhyme-a-mancy out in the cold. I'm not sure where they fit into this. I suppose Foolamancy could be thought of as writing false numbers on the page--adding extra units to the list, or removing some that are really there. That's sort of a stretch, though. The speculative effect of Rhyme-a-mancy still makes sense, but I'm not sure about its actual application.

As for Weirdomancy, what effect would make it fit the pattern, and be consistent with the elements and other disciplines in its class? It's tied to Motion, in the absence of Life and Matter, and it's related to Turnamancy and Dollamancy. At this point, I'm inclined to speculate that Weirdomancy is involved in moving things around, either by directly translocating them, or by altering their Move stat. The portals to the Magic Kingdom could be Weirdomancy in action. I'm still just guessing, though.

*I'm going to stick to Parson's terminology (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0040.html). Disciplines are individual types of magic, classes are sets of disciplines that share the same elements, and axes are the mutually exclusive Erf/Fate/Numbers categories.