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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Ne0's Avatar

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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Quote Originally Posted by Blayze View Post
    Anyway, do you have any thoughts on anything that needs to be done to improve the comic in any way?
    Less mysteries, more plot exposition! It's Lost all over again, darnit!
    - When danger reared it's ugly head, it bravely turned it's tail and fled.
    Ah, the Socratic Method. The best way we have of teaching everything-apart from juggling chainsaws.

    On an unrelated note, please click this link to support me in one of those fun browser games!

    Beautifully detailed Rob avatar by Z-Axis

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    The comparison breaks down roughly about the time I *don't* fuel my brainstorming sessions with drugs.

    Seriously though, if you have any questions then throw them my way and I'll return fire with answers.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    If the art wasn't exactly like Rich's this'd make for a good series
    UPDATED MON, WED, 'N' FRI
    BE THERE OR BE SQUARE...
    ... THE BAD KIND

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Quote Originally Posted by BillsBioBlog View Post
    If the art wasn't exactly like Rich's this'd make for a good series
    ...it's kinda the point for most comics here that the art is Burlewan

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    I don't think there's too many mysteries left at the moment, in fact there may be too few!
    What this comic needs is more pages! It's awesome bub, get on with it!
    ---------------------------------------------------
    The Black Shield Transforms! - from Beyond Myria campaign
    Wolvun avatar by kind courtesy of Kain_Tempest.

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    Requiescat in pace: the "Sweet Hat Bro" bird.
    Can nothing survive the jaws of THE BEAST? Even the innocent cute and fluffy?


    Quote Originally Posted by sikyon View Post
    Sometimes people forget all the benefits we reap from the sacrifices of our soldiers.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Zwean's still working on his thesis, and for a time I was at a loss for ideas of what information to provide you guys with, as Zwean offered me twenty pages and that would be nowhere near enough for all of this story. Then it hit me. I'll give you spoilers... from the future!

    Warning: This post contains spoilers for Fiona, her son, and some of the three hundred years after the events currently depicted in the comic (And a bit of backstory on some of the years before, but not much).

    Spoiler
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    Fiona von Parfu. Leader of the Council of Magic, the most powerful spellcaster Estra has ever known... and if the rumours are correct, the woman who discovered magic in the first place, her body exposed to forces no mortal could hope to survive. She set up the University of Magic, and we have her and her fellows to thank for the ways in which magic helps us with everyday life. However, we also have her to thank for the somewhat oppressive laws through which the Council govern all use of magic, and the seemingly random way in which spells are deemed illegal. In the end though, without the Council's strict regulations and rules, others would seek to abuse magic for their own ends.

    In the days before military applications for magic were discovered, battles were only ever fought through strength of arms. Monarchs, warlords, emperors... there was a peace of sorts, broken by the occasional war or campaign. Were the balance to tip much in any direction, chaos would ensue for a time. Then magic was deemed no longer a toy or just another skill for a noble or heir to possess, but a *tool* with a *use*. Fiona was quick to capitalise on the sudden emergence of a market for a product she and her friends could sell, and they taught all who could afford their services.

    These days, the use of magic has long since filtered down to the masses, although many still do not have even a basic understanding of what magic is. The University of Magic has split into three Schools, and each School into a number of Aspects, each focusing on a different *aspect* of magic itself. It has been three hundred years since magic was discovered, and since then Fiona has not aged a day. The subject has spawned many theories, but all agree that it has something to do with the magic she was exposed to during the "Terril Incident".

    Her son Zack was subjected to the same level of magic as his mother, having been in the womb at the time. Unlike Fiona, Zack's body does age, but at a seemingly slower rate than that of a normal human. In almost three hundred years, he appears to have aged roughly fifty, and has made a name for himself for the past decade or so in the "Tournament of Heroes" held in Giji's Stadium of Glory, calling himself the "Jackal". The effects of Fiona's exposure to magic upon Zack's unborn body has also been a subject of much debate, and the most popular theory is that he was the only reason Fiona survived, his body siphoning off the magic Fiona was unable to handle.

    Fiona's role in the story is that of the "Big Bad", as she has slowly lost her way over the three hundred years between her discovery of magic and the main portion of the story. Her "fall" was aided in part by the presence of her incredible now-innate magic power, as well as the vast quantities of wealth she has obtained over the years. Seeing - and beating down - people who continue to abuse magic for their own ends hasn't helped her either, and over time the Council's laws regarding the use of magic have partly changed in nature, becoming more oppressive.

    The punishments have also become harsher, but Fiona (And the Council) have continually justified their actions times and time again by the results they have obtained.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Why have I not commented on this yet?

    Maybe because I haven't been on recently,and maybe because I wanted to read all the additional information you presented, but that's no excuse!

    This comic is great.

    You have an artist with a brilliant attention to detail, a setting which is well thought out (incredibly well thought out for a webcomic), and a script that draws you in.

    Keep making the comic, as it's developing brilliantly.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Thanks, Keris.

    Aaaaand I'm on a roll here, it would seem.

    Here be spoilers regarding the main organisation that has sprung up because of magic.

    Spoiler
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    ---
    The Council of Magic
    ---

    The Council of Magic is the governing body that oversees all use of magic anywhere on Estra, and is based in the University of Magic erected on the former site of the village of Terril. They not only set the laws, they also have the connections to have them enforced. Little is known of their numbers and even less of their identities, save that Fiona von Parfu must be one of their number. She is their public figurehead, most likely due to both her power and her fame. Those who break any laws relating to magic are liable to find themselves tried and imprisoned swiftly, although despite their influence and Fiona's outright power, the Council is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Many have managed to escape from the Council's justice in the past, and some criminals have even been harboured willingly by governments or rulers who wished to deny the Council the right to have them hunted down and brought to justice.

    ---
    The Schools
    ---

    Of the three varieties of mana that have so far been discovered, each of the three Schools is dedicated to a different one, and have been named appropriately as such. The Arcane School studies the mana that has been found to exist - and is produced - within living bodies. Arcane magic is seen as being evidence of the power of the mind, and its Aspects tend to reflect that. The Elemental school studies the mana that exists in the environment itself, penetrating objects with ease, yet never entering living beings. This is suspected by many to be the result of Arcane mana already inhabiting those spaces. Elemental magic is seen as being evidence of the power of the world itself, and was named after the four classic "elements".

    The Divine School studies the latest type of mana to have been discovered, that which merely gravitates towards living creatures. Divine magic is seen as being evidence of the power of faith, especially due to the more devout nature of many of its practitioners and the "healing" nature of some of its Aspects.

    Originally, all three Schools were based in the University of Magic. Eventually, the number of students and the space they each took up simply became too great, and the Council was forced to "evict" them, ordering each to find a different location in which to inhabit. This was done both to recover space in the University and also to help spread the word of magic further across the world.

    ---
    The Aspects
    ---

    Each School is divided into a number of Aspects, sub-groups that focus on one particular "aspect" of magic. The Arcane School is divided into the Generic, Illusion, Summoning and Enchantment Aspects. The Divine School is divided into the Protection, Restoration, Curses and Wrath Aspects. The Elemental School is divided into the Temperature, Solid, Liquid, Gas and Druidic Aspects. Like the Schools before them, each Aspect has a base of its own in order to reach out to more potential students.

    ---
    The Arcane Aspects
    ---

    ---
    The Generic Aspect
    ---

    In the months after the atrocities caused by members of the Transmutation Aspect came to light, the Arcane School had become known for a wide range of versatile spells that simply could not be classified as being part of any of the existing Aspects. Many of these spells were useful utility spells, especially for travelling spellcasters, but they had no Aspect of their own to belong to and therefore no official teachers to help pupils study them. The Generic Aspect was created as a catch-all group to allow every last one of those spells to be organised and taught as well as any other. These days, most Arcane spellcasters at least dip into the Generic Aspect, if only to help make their own lives a bit easier.

    ---
    The Illusion Aspect
    ---

    One of the original Arcane Aspects, the Illusion Aspect is full of spells designed to confuse and confound enemies. While the majority of this Aspect's spells work by projecting images or sounds and most of the remainder focus on tricking the enemy's senses directly, one or two have been rumoured to work by altering reality itself. While this has yet to be confirmed officially, anybody who tried would no doubt be arrested by the Council's enforcers immediately.

    ---
    The Summoning Aspect
    ---

    Summoning spells are more strictly enforced than almost any other Aspect, due to the inherent danger involved in the existence of spells that allow people to move from place to place almost instantly. Despite this heavy regulation, Summoning spells are very popular with merchants who wish to avoid bandits, and there has been talk of the Merchants' Guild paying for the construction of a "portal network" connecting many major cities together - for the Guild's use only, of course. Despite this business opportunity, the Summoning Aspect has been deemed borderline illegal for quite some time, and practically the only thing keeping it from being banned outright has been the efforts of its late leader, Yuutt. Now that he's dead, nobody knows quite what's going to happen.

    ---
    The Transmutation Aspect (Former)
    ---

    The Transmutation Aspect no longer exists due to atrocities committed by some of its members against those of the other Arcane Aspects, but especially against the Enchantment Aspect. Transmutation spells were designed to alter things - permanently. While many of their spells saw no more harmful use than reattaching a table leg or mending tears in fabric, it was the potential for physical alteration of living beings that caused problems. Many Transmutation spellcasters practiced the art of changing portions of their appearance that they didn't like, but the potential criminal use of such an application was astonishing.

    Transmutation users could walk into a building in the guise of somebody who had a right to be there, having changed their entire outer appearance, commit a crime and then walk out again as themselves - or as somebody else. Despite all of that, it was those who spent their time altering the physical forms of *other people* who sounded the death knell for their Aspect. Some had been corrupted by their own lack of self-control and restrain when it came to what they could do. They would stalk and capture victims, before sating whatever depravities they wished on the flesh and bone of their victims.

    The most notorious of all was a man who decorated his room with the bodies of his victims, spreading their flesh, blood and bone across the walls, ceiling and floor as if he was painting. These days, the Transmutation Aspect no longer exists. Many refuse to even speak of it.

    ---
    The Enchantment Aspect
    ---

    While the Transmutation Aspect focused on altering objects and people permanently, the Enchantment Aspect does so temporarily. People can become healthier, stronger, weaker... but only as long as the spellcaster in question can maintain the spell. The instant they lose control or stop concentrating or fall unconscious or asleep, the changes are undone. Due in part to the lessons learned from the history of the Transmutation Aspect, none so far have tried to abuse Enchantment spells.

    ---
    The Divine Aspects
    ---

    ---
    The Restoration Aspect
    ---

    This Aspect is dedicated to spells of healing and recovery, as well as those that aid a healer's efforts. Despite that, it is *not* an Aspect that healers rely on, as spells more complicated than soothing bruises, sterilising injuries or speeding up the healing of minor wounds tend to require large quantities of mana. Flesh and bone *can* be rebuilt purely from mana itself, but it is rarely ever an option. Setting aside the fact that rebuilding anything greater than a small hole tends to take more mana than the average healer can expend at once, "mana exhaustion" from using too much mana fatigues a person greatly, and healers need to be fully rested and refreshed in order to be any use to anybody.

    ---
    The Protection Aspect
    ---

    This Aspect contains spells of defence and resistance, allowing spellcasters to defend themselves in combat if need be. It contains a lot of spells that are similar to each other in use, differing mostly in the level of protection they can bestow. A Protection spellcaster can harden their own skin or clothing or deflect arrows and other objects that approach them.

    ---
    The Curses Aspect
    ---

    Most commonly known as the "Cursed Aspect" due to its nature, the Curses Aspect contains spells that can affect people in negative ways. It is associated with spells that can slow an opponent's wits or movements, make them weaker, amplify their feelings of pain or inspire fear in their mind. Yet for all its possible negative applications, the Curses Aspect contains spells that can aid one's allies directly as opposed to just indirectly. Fear and indecision can be torn straight from the mind of an ally or even from the caster's mind, and feelings of pain can be suppressed allowing a person to act as if they were healthy once more.

    ---
    The Wrath Aspect
    ---

    Originally a single spell in the Curses Aspect, the Wrath spell was designed to give Divine spellcasters the ability to cause direct damage if they needed to. Unlike other Aspects with more in the way of choice when it comes to causing pain, the Wrath spell was pretty much the only choice for a Divine spellcaster who wanted to be able to go toe-to-toe with enemies. As such, it received all the attention from those who wanted to study it, and its use was quickly refined and mastered by a great many people.

    The premise was simple. The more mana the spellcaster shoved into the spell, the more destructive it was. The first accident during practice came about when a young caster decided to see what would happen if they put *all* of their mana into the spell. Naturally, suddenly being drained of mana caused their body to immediately become fatigued. This caused them to lose control of the spell as they fought to stay awake, which meant that they had an unstable spell with nowhere to go. The result wasn't pretty.

    As a result the Wrath spell was given its own Aspect, mostly to keep those who wanted to use it away from those who didn't, lest more people explode. As a result, the Wrath spell has earned something of a reputation. Some have even likened it to calling down the favour of a God: Respect it and don't rely on it, or things will get messy.

    ---
    The Elemental Aspects
    ---

    ---
    The "Old Elemental" Aspects
    ---

    The four Old Elemental Aspects were the original four, each named after one of the four "classic" elements. Each was full of spells relating to that element, and the disparity in size between the largest and the smallest Aspect was far more evident than with either of the other Schools. The Fire Aspect was the largest and the most powerful, and obviously received the lion's share of the budget. By comparison, the Air Aspect was the smallest and the weakest, and barely got any money by comparison.

    One woman's desire to prove that the Air Aspect was not weak led to her creation of a hurricane-causing spell, and her decision to challenge some members of the Fire Aspect to a duel in which she would use her new spell to prove her Aspect's worth. However, she hadn't bargained on what would happen when her hurricane came into contact with a fireball spell.

    The fireball found itself with a lot more oxygen to consume, as well as a lot more mana to use as fuel. It fed off the hurricane, which kept drawing air into itself and making itself larger and more powerful. This made the fireball larger and more powerful, until the two of them had accidentally created a hurricane of fire that spat flame everywhere. Unluckily, they had held their duel outside the Fire Aspect's base. It wasn't long before the building itself was engulfed in flames.

    While the fire did eventually die down, many had been in the building itself as it burned, and a large portion of their younger students had been immolated. The Air spellcaster had fled in a blind panic, taking to the air and escaping. While most of the remaining Fire spellcasters knew it was an accident, one in particular - a man by the name of Tiax - sought to get revenge.

    He was a charismatic sort, and managed to whip up some of his fellows into a frenzy. They stormed the Air Aspect's home, burning it to the ground and slaughtering most of their number. When they returned home, those who had not been swayed by Tiax's words turned them away and tried to hunt them down. They were nothing more than murderers, after all. Blinded by his own fury and feeling betrayed, Tiax persuaded his followers that they were being persecuted, and they fled from the wrath of their former friends. They sought out and destroyed the homes of both the Earth and the Water Aspect, then returned to purge the world of the Fire Aspect.

    Tiax sacrificed his own followers in an explosion of fire, threatening a captured and broken Air caster with death and mutilation if he did not use the hurricane spell on the burning corpses. The hurricane was vastly superior to the original, the concentration of mana - and of the fire - in its location absolutely incredible. It was at that point that Fiona descended upon the battlefield. She had changed much in her long life, and according to eyewitness accounts, took pleasure in seeing and experiencing Tiax's futile attempts at harming her with his spells, before torching the flesh from his bones... slowly.

    ---
    The "New Elemental" Aspects
    ---

    The four New Elemental Aspects are little more than renamed versions of the originals when you boil the situation down to its essentials, although there are some differences. The Temperature Aspect contains Fire spells, but also spells of cold as well. The Solid Aspect is most linked to the Earth Aspect, the Liquid one to the Water one and the Gas one to the Air one. Rumour has it that the Council's refusal to act sooner in the events that became known as the "Mage War" simply came down to it being easier for a bureaucratic change in the Aspects themselves to be accepted if the fear of painful retribution was driven into their minds first.

    ---
    The Druidic Aspect
    ---

    When Tiax and his cronies torched the home of the Earth Aspect, they didn't do a very good job of it. Not all those present were slain, and not all of the Aspect's knowledge was destroyed. Those who survived gained a new appreciation for life, and the sight of the surrounding grassland being reduced to charred cinders drove into the minds of many of them a desire to never see the same sort of thing happen ever again. They called themselves druids in a reference to the mythical druids of old, and decided that their job was to ensure that nobody ever misused magic in a way that harmed the world ever again.

    Armed with the knowledge and spells that they had recovered - and still retained in memory - despite the destruction of their home, they were prepared to rebuild the Earth Aspect from the ground up. The Council's decision to rework the system made them think twice however, and so they decided to be an unofficial Aspect. Despite their use of banned "Old Earth" magic, the Druidic Aspect has yet to come under fire from the Council. Most believe that as long as they exist to prevent magic from being misused, the Council is prepared to leave them be.

    Over the years, the Druidic Aspect has come into its own, and druidism has become as respected a way of life as any other. Their doctrines are heavily laden with references to nature, and many of their spells reflect that.

    Here's a picture of how the Schools and Aspects are organised. It's a bit rubbish, but I can't get my mouse to stay still and I can't use the touchpad properly.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...stra-Magic.jpg

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    It doesn't count as double-posting if there's two weeks between them, does it? :P

    I'm here again with another little look at Estra. This time, it's time for a glance at four of the more protagonist-y characters. The four in question are from the original Estra novel, and are some of my favourite characters. As such, I take *extra* special pleasure in working on killing off two of them during their adventures.

    ---
    Some of the Protagonists
    ---

    Spoiler
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    Luja - An ex-pickpocket and spellcaster, one of Luja's major driving forces is his greed. Born, raised and then orphaned on the streets of Giji's slums, he knows what it is like to have nothing - not even hope - and is willing to do almost anything in order to avoid falling into that life again. Coupled with his former "occupation", he knows the value of money, and seeks to accumulate as much wealth as possible in order to stay afloat. To achieve that goal he signed up for the Hero Tournament, seeking - if not the title of Hero - the wealth and fame that comes with celebrity status. As a result, one of his role models is Zack von Parfu, the "Jackal" who won over the hearts and minds of many Tournament patrons - despite never placing first - with his single-minded refusal to lose and his ability to make any battle entertaining.

    Teganor - A healer-in-training, one of Teganor's major driving forces is his inquisitiveness. After waking up in the care of a family of healers with no memory of his identity or the world around him, he knows what it is like to be clueless, and is determined to find out who he is and what happened to him. To achieve that goal he signed up for the Hero Tournament, reasoning that since it was the single largest gathering of people in the region, he would have a much better chance than normal of finding somebody who recognised him. As much as he wants to understand who he is, he is plagued by nightmares of blood and murder that have done much to undermine his resolve to uncover the truth. Regardless, he simply cannot bring himself to leave a mystery - especially not one as involving, engaging and personal as this one - unsolved.

    Elemi - A young druid with a penchant for shapeshifting, one of Elemi's major driving forces is her enthusiasm. Born and raised in a loving family in a peaceful village community, her lack of understanding and experience of the hardships others have faced - and her own expectations and opinions regarding "adventure" and life outside the village microcosm - have resulted in something of an insensitive attitude towards their opinions and complaints, and she is widely known for her ability to put her foot in her mouth (Metaphorically speaking). Seeking to both experience "the thrill of battle" in a controlled environment and to meet up with her childhood friend Magran after several years apart, she signed up for the Hero Tournament and gained an understanding of how painful tattoos can be in the process.

    Magran - Having met and befriended a young Elemi as a child after driving off some older children attempting to mug her, Magran disappeared from her life after he was kidnapped and subjected to experiments into incorporating the practical application of anti-magic theory into humans. The only survivor after a botched rescue mission from the village of Kinarel resulted in the deaths of most people in the facility, one of his major driving forces is his hatred. Due to his youth at the time, he remembers little of the life he used to live. These days Magran works to rebuild his life, all the while his mere presence causing spells to flicker and die as the mana used to sustain them is pushed away violently. He signed up for the Tournament in order to vent aggression and allow him to bet on himself in matches against spellcasters.


    A greedy opportunist, a nosy idiot, an insensitive brat and a hate-filled manchild. And these are the heroes.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Quote Originally Posted by Zweanslord View Post
    Well, as you might have guessed, this one is not advancing further. Blame me, the artist.
    Just to be clear, do you mean that it's not advancing right now or that it's been abandoned completely and will never advance again? Should I or should I not continue checking this thread every day for updates?
    [/delusional ravings]

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    It's true, this comic is no longer being worked on. Ah well, it wasn't as if any money changed hands or anything. We came, we saw, we created. Thanks for all the work you did, Zwean.

    However, the Estra project is nowhere near dead. In fact, I'll never let it lie.

    Regard.

  12. - Top - End - #72
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    MethosH's Avatar

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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Nice job.. just to let you know, the link to the comic number 4 is broken
    It's BACK!

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Eldrys's Avatar

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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    I tried to start reading it but comic 4 isn't working for me. I can't skip to five because it looks like something dramatic happens.

  14. - Top - End - #74
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Estra - The Birth of Magic

    Finally! My habit of backing up webcomics on these forums (So far restricted to this one, my current one, The Legend of THE BEAST and Heroes of the Hour) has finally proven useful!

    Regard -- the fourth Estra comic with which Zweanslord blessed the Internet.

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