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    Canonfire :: View topic - The source of greyhawk magic
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    The source of greyhawk magic
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:22 am  
    The source of greyhawk magic

    Now this may seem like a rather silly question and i'm almost expecting that there is no answer to it but i was wondering, where does the magic in greyhawk come from, Forgotten Realms has the weave, but does greyhawk have any magical system or named or described source?

    If not is it entirely plausible or acceptable for me to create a detailed source to cater to this role in my own greyhawk campaign that i run without it looking or sounding stupid.

    THanks for your time. Cool
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:25 am  

    Good question. Well there certainly is no weave since that would be copying. However on further thought there is some interesting questions/deductions that I hope others can expand upon.

    1) Oerth has had a long history of magic/relics going awry, usually devastating entire nations. Such unrestrained use seems to indicate a virtually unlimited source to tap from.

    2) The Suel had the Mages of Power. What set them apart from normal mages and what gave them such destructive potential, was it a knowledge of a magic source?

    3) GH has two gods of magic principally. Wee Jas and Boccob. Neither exercise a 'Mystra' style control over magic and in Boccob's case he wouldn't care what wizards did with magic, hence #1.

    4) In FtA iirc, there is a phenomena called the Shadow Helix which appears over great events of magic or divine disturbances. I think it said Mordenkainen tracks these appearances so they aren't just your run of the mill borealises. Might this in fact be the evidence of a magic source manifesting?

    5) There are a few instances of a rare magical substance called Oerthblood, drawn up from the core of the planet. It was greatly hoarded by Tenser. Maybe the source is internal not external?

    6) Oerth has had a couple instances of starfallen rocks that produced magic effects or items. The Pits of Azak Zil and the Malachite Throne (i could be incorrect on the latter). Such foreign material brought down to Oerth over a few Epochs could be the source of magic.

    7) Speaking of Epochs, some time before CY 998 we know the Epoch of Magic ends so that infers a source of some kind is used up, burnt out early, or barred. Knowledge of the Art couldn't just go away in @ 400 years when the last 2000 was steeped in it.

    That's all I got for now, very intriguing.
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:33 am  

    Some interesting thoughts indeed, i just got thinking today and thought i'd ask about it.
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:42 am  

    > FtA iirc, there is a phenomena called the Shadow Helix which appears over great events of magic or divine disturbances

    How interesting! Do you have any more info about that ? This could be really useful for my campaign :-)
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 1:53 am  
    Shadow Helix

    *chuckles*

    I had just come across this about Shadow Helixes earlier tonight and now it goets brought up.

    http://members.aol.com/WoGFanClub/helix.html

    [/url]
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 2:04 am  

    Good link DD! Yup, that be the helix. I forgot that the spinning one only appears over the Abbor Alz. Hmm strange.
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 2:12 am  

    i'm shocked to see that this question which i thought to be rather rediculous has sparked some interest, but thanks for the replies guys (and if applicable gals) so far the comments have been inspiring.

    Wink
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 2:13 am  

    Thanks a lot for the info, and the speedy replie, to both of you

    I'm feeling a promising disturbance on the Force :-)
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    Victor Caminha
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:45 am  

    I don't know of anything official on this, but it is a general supposition among many that magic is fading in Greyhawk.

    The pre-Cataclysmic magic is generally more powerful than anything that could be done "today". Mages of Power, the Invoked Devistation, Rain of Colorless Fire, are Epic Level magic generally inaccessable in current Greyhawk.

    On the other hand, as quoted above, magic diminishes in the future of greyhawk.

    Thus many conclude that magic is in decline. As far as the source, this might imply that the supply of magic to greyhawk is slowly diminishing - something is cutting off the source? The prime plane of Greyhawk is slowly drifting away from the inner planes that are sources of magic?

    Another possibility is that the Oerth, or the Oerth's crystal sphere, has a limited supply of magic, like a limited resource. Every use of magic taps this reserve, so that it impoverishes the magic available to future generations.

    Finally, there seem to be many magic PLACES in greyhawk, such that some people have taklked about ley lines and how highly magical places are found at ley line intersections or nodes. (Places like Tovag Baru, Moonarch of Sehanine, Castle Greyhawk, etc). However, I have not seen this written up anywhere.
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    Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:27 pm  

    Eric Shook and Rob Kuntz had some really good posts in 1996 or so about the nature of magic in Greyhawk, in part inspired by discussion Erik Mona started about the descriptions of magic in Saga of Old City (IIRC).

    Once we get the archives fixed, I'll post a link to the relevant discussions.....
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    Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:36 am  

    Quote:
    magic diminishes in the future of greyhawk.
    I suppose in addition to spellcasting and magic items being in decline, wouldn't there have to be a culling of magically inherent monsters-races as well?

    Another thing, many of GH's most powerful personages, quasi-deities and hero-deities end up travelling or devising abodes on other planes. Maybe they know something of Oerth's magical waning?
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    Thu Aug 12, 2004 6:50 am  

    The "magic is dying" notation is interesting to me. The curret year by LG reckoning is 594 CY, I think. The forward to the 83 Glossography indicates magic is _perhaps_ declining_ in 998 CY (I think that's the year mentioned). So, there are nearly 400 years until the magic, in some way, "falters" or "shifts."

    Is this merely a cycle of waxing and waning?

    Is this the end of the magic that will usher in an era of no-magic or the advent of technology in an attempt to replace magic?

    Is this reference even certain in its notation of magic fluctuating?

    If the magic "dies," can it brought back?

    As for a source of magic in GH, I don't think there is one in any definable sense. I see magic in GH as akin to gravity or the coreolis effect - it is a natural part of the make up of the nature of the place. Magic just is. But saying that, there are many ways in which it manifests and these manifestations may have specific "origins" or "natures," ie elven magic may appear different than human magic if each harnesses the potential for magic differently.

    GVD
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    Fri Aug 13, 2004 7:07 am  

    grodog wrote:
    Eric Shook and Rob Kuntz had some really good posts in 1996 or so about the nature of magic in Greyhawk, in part inspired by discussion Erik Mona started about the descriptions of magic in Saga of Old City (IIRC).

    Once we get the archives fixed, I'll post a link to the relevant discussions.....


    Frnak Mentzer also has an interesting theory on magic:

    On ye Theorie of Magickal Practice

    a) A Plane is a space of 1 or more infinite dimensions. Planes contain energy.

    b) Energies come in different forms, such as the 4 basic Elemental varieties and the more volatile pure Positive and Negative.

    c) In comparing any two given planes the energy differs, generally in both type and quantity. Conditions in localized portions of those planes may be more irregular. There is thus a quantifiable energy Difference between the planes.

    d) When two planes are adjacent, sharing mutual boundaries in at least one dimension and commonly as many as five, they produce a border effect, a Planar Boundary. The Difference in energies at this Boundary can be categorized as a whole as "Potential Energy".

    Thus:

    That mortal craft or tool known colloquially as "Magic" is the pragmatic application of the Potential energy generated at Planar Boundaries. The energy is converted into dynamic effects, that process typically involving mental activity (Somatic components), verbal mnemonics to aid that activity (Verbal components), and/or physical objects involved in converting or channeling the energy toward or into the desired effect (Material components).

    As a footnote, the range of effects that can be produced by Magic are often categorized in a way that matches the style of usage of the components and their application, which also corresponds to a title pertinent to the effects obtained (e.g. Alterations, Illusions, et al.)

    (c) 2004 J. Franklin Mentzer All Rights Reserved
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    Fri Aug 13, 2004 7:33 am  

    I blame Oerth Blood, in it's many different varieties.

    Also, in WGR1, the Obelisk and such are hinted to be sources that may or may not be of note for this subject.
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    Fri Aug 13, 2004 9:02 am  

    Abysslin wrote:
    I blame Oerth Blood, in it's many different varieties.

    Also, in WGR1, the Obelisk and such are hinted to be sources that may or may not be of note for this subject.


    Oertblood is petroleum. The only formulated untill present time answer is given in the Gord novels by the creator of our game. Those who want to know please read the novels. Go ebay or borrow from a friend. Also, I am sure some followers of the topic know what I mean and would like to elaborate.

    By the way, after Abyss' post, Mentzer's theory was buried. Interested visitors may find this theory also in

    http://groups.aol.com/_cqr/gotgames2004?mmch_=0
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    Fri Aug 13, 2004 11:50 pm  

    Oerthblood as petroleum, hmm.

    In the much celebrated Return of the Eight *sarcasm* iirc there is a piece of hardened Oerthblood that can be found thru searching, something dagger shaped i think. With this theory in mind I wonder if that object is plasticy or rubbery...hrm would make a nice rogue's prank.
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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 7:20 am  

    Well, maybe you are correct, maybe oerthblood is not petroleum. I always pictured oerthblood as petroleum. Maybe I am wrong. I do not have my books to research it at the moment.

    The important thing we have is Mentzer's theory on magic, and we wait for grodog to post Kuntz' theory on magic.

    Also, the only solid explanation of Oerth's fading magic is in the Gord novels, given by the creator and major developer of our game and world.

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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 8:11 am  

    I'm fairly sure Mortellan was accepting Oerthblood as petroleum in a serious manner, Tzelios.

    Also, I believe this only further supports Oerth Blood as being a suggestable source. Afterall isn't petroleum what is left over after from bodies in which the soul has left its mortal confines in ages past? Sounds rather mystifying to me.
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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 3:08 pm  

    Oerthblood is to me the literal blood of Oerth. Oerth is alive in a sense and Oerthblood flows in its netherdeep arteries. It is inherently powerful, though perhaps not magical in the usual sense. My approach here is straight out of Big Trouble in Little China, a great movie. When the party descends into the earth beneath Chinatown, Burton asks Egg Shen what is flowing through the cavern. He answers, "It is the black blood of the earth." I always liked that scene and really liked the thought of the earth having blood. The rest as they say is my campaign. Happy

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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 4:14 pm  

    I've never really used or detailed Oerthblood, but anyway

    IMC, Boccob is magic. He is the anthropomorphic visage given to this mysterious force of nature. By learning more, humans (and others) are able to tap into more and more of the potential power magic offers, so they logically assume that knowledge and magic are interwoven, though this is just a coincidental relationship.

    Wee Jas, OTOH, is the matron of magicians, those who use magic. It is her whim that allows mortals to use, or not use the power that is Boccob. Xagyg holds a similar position, usurping some of her power in recent times.

    Now, about the 'magic is fading' thing. This is a comment made in ~900 cy by Pluffet Smedger. It does not necessarily apply in 591, and in my opinion, it does not.

    Magic in the flanaess waxes and wanes, like the tides. My guess is that this cycle renews itself every 1000 years or so.

    1000 years ago: the height of the Suel, Baklunish and Vecna empires, and their climactic downfall through use of magic.

    Current times: the Greyhawk Wars, Rise of Iuz, Flight of Fiends, Magic devastation of places like Rauxes and Chathold. Is this the climax, or is something even more profound on the horizon? Boccob only knows.

    It's my guess that in about 100 cy, 500 years prior to the current time, there was a period f almost no magical influence on Oerth. Canon can support this indirectly. The major events of this general era (founding of keoland, aerdy great kingdom, etc) were accomplished through good old sword and muscle, not magic. No major arcane events are detailed in this era.

    Following that pattern, we can see that another 'magic dead' era will hit around 1100 CY, which means that by 900 CY, magic will definitely be seen as 'in decline' by the sages of the time. Therein lies the reasoning for Smedger's comment.

    Of course, none of this is official, and it ignores any 'canon' from the Gygax novels, but IMO its as good an explanation as any.
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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 4:23 pm  

    Tzelios wrote:
    The important thing we have is Mentzer's theory on magic, and we wait for grodog to post Kuntz' theory on magic.


    I think I may have a print out of the original posts, I'll see what I can dig up....

    Quote:
    Also, the only solid explanation of Oerth's fading magic is in the Gord novels, given by the creator and major developer of our game and world.


    Actually, I'm pretty sure that there are some allusions to magic fading in GH in Robin Wayne Bailey's Nightwatch novel as well.
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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 9:44 pm  

    I have only read Saga of Old City, so I'll wait for the other notes, but some of these other comments look fun to piece together in some sort of wild unified theory...

    Boccob: Deific manifestation of the source of Potential Energy for Oerth wherein he himself serves as the direct tangent of his plane (Concordant Opposition?) with the Oerth.

    Oerthblood: Beory and Boccob are intertwined via this substance (since both seem to be primordally powerful) which perhaps serves as a conduit for Boccob to imbue raw magic across Oerth faster. Or it might even act as a barometer for the current level of magic present on Oerth if one can plumb its depths for a measurement much like Tenser's Well from Rot8.

    Magic waxes and wanes in cycles: This could be manifested by Boccob being uncaring and thus the cycle isn't a fixed time period, or if the Oerthblood can be used as a measurement for a finite amount Boccob can imbue, then the fading time is a fixed cycle resulting in a godly period of 'rest' for Boccob while the magic is replenished (In essence he is a wizardly Atlas who needs a break once in a while).

    Spinning Helix/Shadow Helices: Stresses or overdraws on the raw energy of the Oerth result in a noticeable side effect.

    Good stuff everyone! Keep it going.
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    Sat Aug 14, 2004 11:03 pm  

    If you like the idea of magic having a cycle, here are two cycles grounded in natural events:

    Every 14400 years is a Grand Conjunction: all the planets except the sun are perfectly aligned in the sky. This could give 7200 years of waning magic then 7200 years waxing before the peak.

    If that is too long, consider this:
    Every 1500 years the planets Edill (which represents Boccob) and The Spectre (which represent Tharizdun) meet in the constellation of Needfest. One could consider each conjunction to be the cause of a reverse in the stength of magic - 1500 years of waning, then 1500 years of waxing. If you use this, with the Invoked Devastation the time of the last "high", then magic circa 500 CY is at about 33% of potential, and the lowest spot of magic would be at the conjunction circa 1000 CY (as documented by Smedger). From that point on magic would increase in strength until the next conjunction circa 2500 CY.

    Kirt
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    Sun Aug 15, 2004 12:00 am  

    Nice addition Kirt! Edill and the Spectre, you got me itching to look them up again.
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    Mon Aug 16, 2004 6:18 am  

    I'm rather certain the Spectre was a Constellation in its own right? A Black Hole perhaps? Some sort of Void in Wild Space?

    I'm positive it's not a planet though. I suppose it wouldn't matter anywa...
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    Mon Aug 16, 2004 6:53 am  
    Favorite Game Ever

    I have enjoyed this post, and all the contributors greatly. However, in my home game, I have not worried at all about this issue, or cycles, or whys and wherefores. However, the last post compelled me to write about the best campaign I have ever played in....

    Anced Math (me Happy ) and the rest of the party are working diligently against Turosh Mak (wow... 14 years ago now!!!) The world is experiancing the wars, but Greyhawk has not had the Peace Talks at this time.

    AD&D (Maybe 2nd 3d, who can remember) and Anced is a high level mage, and a low level smith. A mage wielding a smith's hammer, fighting hordes of huminoids... ah the memories

    Oh well, enough of that. Something the DM had planned for a very long time, and was very useful, was the Month of the Blood Moons... Somehow both of the moons went red and all non Oerth magic goes dark.

    For one month, all creatures that use magic but are not magic (ie Demons still have their magic, mages do not) find that magic is unavailable. All of the Elder Gods (ie anything the DM wanted to hit us with), and any that are Oerth bred (think Iuz). Only clerics of Deities on Oerth were able to get their spells.

    This did several things... it got rid of all non charged magic items, they simply went dead unless they were of Artifact/Relic status. It trimed out any Monty Haul aspects of the Game. And when it was finally over, we were still high level, for Greyhawk, but now all the outsiders and magic creatures were promising every halfwit priest and mage the moon in order to get into/on Oerth.

    While this is a trip down memory lane, it proved a very effective vehicle to keep a campaign running that had come near to the end of it's life due to the power of the players. Our game was not overpowered, and we had lost a number of good strong characters over the years. We were in college, and playing once a week for 24 hrs or more was feasible. Eventually, those who survive It is much different to be assaulting a 9HD demon with a non magic longsword and lacking that +5 plate and the staff of power. Wink

    I do not know if he swiped the Blood Red moon from somewhere else, but it is humbling to be of Epic Level, and not of Epic Power.

    Thanks again for the posts.
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    Mon Aug 16, 2004 7:36 am  

    Kirt wrote:
    If you like the idea of magic having a cycle, here are two cycles grounded in natural events:

    Every 14400 years is a Grand Conjunction: all the planets except the sun are perfectly aligned in the sky. This could give 7200 years of waning magic then 7200 years waxing before the peak.

    If that is too long, consider this:
    Every 1500 years the planets Edill (which represents Boccob) and The Spectre (which represent Tharizdun) meet in the constellation of Needfest. One could consider each conjunction to be the cause of a reverse in the stength of magic - 1500 years of waning, then 1500 years of waxing. If you use this, with the Invoked Devastation the time of the last "high", then magic circa 500 CY is at about 33% of potential, and the lowest spot of magic would be at the conjunction circa 1000 CY (as documented by Smedger). From that point on magic would increase in strength until the next conjunction circa 2500 CY.

    Kirt


    This is absolutely brilliant and I think a most compelling solution to the "magic is fading" question! I am imagining that this is laid out in Greyspace somewhere. Do you have a page reference? I would like to read the section. Excellent post!

    GVD
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    Mon Aug 16, 2004 10:09 am  
    Re: Favorite Game Ever

    Anced_Math wrote:


    I do not know if he swiped the Blood Red moon from somewhere else, but it is humbling to be of Epic Level, and not of Epic Power.


    There are references in Iuz the Evil to a Blood Moon Festival. Never fear!
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    Mon Aug 16, 2004 4:11 pm  

    Why does magic have to go away?

    I understand that the Age of Magic is ending, but that just means people aren't calling it the Age of Magic anymore. It implies that people considered magic to notable or dominant force in the previous age, but that doesn't mean it disappears. What is the era that replaces it?
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    Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:09 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    This is absolutely brilliant and I think a most compelling solution to the "magic is fading" question! I am imagining that this is laid out in Greyspace somewhere. Do you have a page reference? I would like to read the section.
    GVD


    The period or revolition of the planets is detailed in GreySpace, though I don't have the page number handy. Edill has a cycle of 40 months (1120 days) and the Spectre has a cycle of 450 months (12600 days).

    Thus they have "little conjunctions" fairly often, every 130 years or so. Four trips around for the Spectre is exactly 45 trips around for Edill (1800 months).

    They have a "big conjunction" as the multiple of 40 x 450, every 18000 months, or about 1500 years.

    That is GreySpace canon.

    That the "start date" is the Invoked Devastation, and that Edill represents Boccob while the Sprectre represents Tharizdun is conjecture. It is based on an article called Astronomy and Astrology of Greyhawk authored by Gary Holian, Erik Boyd, and myself. I recently recovered a print copy of this article and we will be posting it to CF sometime this year I hope.
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    Thu Aug 19, 2004 4:32 am  

    My pet theory on this is that the Oerth is the keystone of the multiverse, which because it is ordered is itself the prison for the Primeval Chaos - known more widely as Tharizdun. This explains why the Oerth is so important to Tharizdun and why it contains the key to his release.

    Unfortunately, the keystone is flawed - because it is perfused by arcane magic, which has been able to leak into the Oerth since the splintering of the Rod of Seven Parts (known to some as the Staff of Law). Magic allows the keystone to be eroded leading to the release of Big T.

    My thought was that between 591 and 998 CY, the Great War for the fate of the Oerth (and ultimately the multiverse) will be fought, where to win, the forces of Balance (or at least everyone who doens't want to see Tharizdun return) will have to sacrifice magic to prevent Tharizdun's awakening and the utter destruction of the Multiverse. The Staff is reformed, the Law is restored, magic (both arcane and divine) and the magical races and creatures begin to dwindle and die and eventually Oerth becomes a largely mundane technological world sometime in the second millenium CY.

    P.
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    Thu Aug 19, 2004 4:40 am  
    Wow!!

    Woesinger,

    I have to tell you that your theory is both depressing and sad.

    To create a world as wonderful and different as GH, just to plan that in the future it will become as non magical and same as this one.

    While I love the world we live in, I don't want to roleplay here. In my GH, now and forever, magic may wane, but it will always wax full again.

    This has been a fantastic post by everyone.
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    Thu Aug 19, 2004 5:37 am  

    I have changed my mind. This whole source of magic and "the weave" thing has started to taste like a Star Wars "force" rip off.

    I'm reverting back to the "natural energies" theory explained in the PHB.
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    Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:01 pm  

    Quote:
    That the "start date" is the Invoked Devastation, and that Edill represents Boccob while the Sprectre represents Tharizdun is conjecture. It is based on an article called Astronomy and Astrology of Greyhawk authored by Gary Holian, Erik Boyd, and myself. I recently recovered a print copy of this article and we will be posting it to CF sometime this year I hope.


    Kirt,

    I will very much look forward to this as the astronomy and astrology of GH is a great interest of mine.

    Thanks for doing the math! I never was very good at it.

    GVD
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    Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:11 am  

    Wrong order. The "force" is a magic rip off, but we don't hold that against Star Wars because

    (1) it never attempts to be anything but Space Opera with a mythological base

    (2) when it is done right it is soooo coooool.
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    Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:50 am  

    Quote:
    Woesinger,

    I have to tell you that your theory is both depressing and sad.

    To create a world as wonderful and different as GH, just to plan that in the future it will become as non magical and same as this one.

    While I love the world we live in, I don't want to roleplay here. In my GH, now and forever, magic may wane, but it will always wax full again.


    Yup - its a tragedy, but some of the best and most epic stories are tragedies. Mention Shakespere and what comes to mind first - Much Ado About Nothing or Hamlet? They don't call me Woesinger for nothing... Wink

    Still - horses for courses. A man/woman's campaign is their castle. Smile


    P.
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    Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:41 am  
    The Same

    Quote:
    Still - horses for courses. A man/woman's campaign is their castle.


    And if we all did it the same, how much fun would that be.

    Smile
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    Mon Aug 23, 2004 7:54 pm  

    just another question, how high magic is greyhawk as a setting?.

    From what i've gathered from reading about it is that the common person in greyhawk doesnt seem to be directly effected or very unlikely witnesses anything of the supernatural. I maybe wrong but its the way it was portrayed and came across, if someone could explain this to me that would be great in the sense that how high powered a setting is greyhawk? and stuff like that.
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    Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:55 pm  

    GH to me runs the gamut of power levels. It just depends on your campaign. Low magic works best for adventures where characters are skilled oriented like rogues in particular, this is because magic tends to duplicate or improve anything a normal person can do. High magic involves demi-gods, demi-planes and very big dragons, stuff that defies logic that wouldn't normally be dealt with in an everyday setting. In between you have everything else along the spectrum.

    For a more generalized answer I guess GH is considered a high magic setting if one knows where to look for it. Sure you could spend all your adventuring career in Homlett among common folk hunting mundane orcs and stuff, but until you go to the ToEE you'll never know higher magic. And even after you've tackled that, there will always be even higher magic hidden around Oerth.
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    Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:55 am  
    Mixed Setting

    I think Mortellan has the gist of the feel. There are certainly places where magic is not conspicuous, even if there in quantity.

    Imagine Harry Potter and Hogwarts; there are magic brooms for sweeping, and meals appear out of thin air. I cannot think of anyplace of in Greyhawk, with the possible exception of the Mages College in the City of Greyhawk, where this occurs.

    However, there places of extreme power...TOEE, Rauxes, the Silent Tower.

    I thinks the difference is that in Greyhawk Magic of all sorts is taken very seriously (well, except for Zagyg). Cleric get it from their gods, so except for the priest of Oldimarra, it is serious business. Mages are fairly rare; and do not wish to waste their spells. As a general statement... a mage in D&D without a spell is only good for carrying water and loot, and not much of that. Thus they rarely waste them to impress the locals.

    In my mind, a low magic setting encompasses the tales of King Arthur, where the King had a magic sword, and the Knights encountered magic, but there are only a few mages of note. So few that only the most powerful king in the land had one as an advisor.

    High magic is Hogwarts. Thus I would say that GH is medium to high magic, but it is extremely inconspicuous and cherished. Not however, that there are places, such as the countryside of Keoland, where magic is so rare that the peasants are fearful and unfamiliar with it, both arcane and divine.
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    Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:14 pm  

    i'd have to say that i prefer high magic, can i do this to greyhawk without being shot down in flames by fanbois? Laughing
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    Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:09 pm  

    high magic GH is fine, but I strongly advise against magic item shops and epic spells! Shocked
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    Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:59 pm  

    I agree on the magic shops, it is just not that common. You could have custom work and trades going with mage guilds or heroes, but it wouldn't be something just lying around. You would have to work at it.

    I disagree with no Epic spells. They should be rare, but their is ample precident. Mordenkenien's stats include them, Invoked Devistation, Rain of Colourless Fire, mass fiend summoning, castles made of crystalized blood, and other oddities.
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    Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:21 am  

    All those Epic examples are clearly essential to the flavor of GH, but they are by no means something the players should have access to, even if just once.
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    Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:27 am  

    and people told me that greyhawk was the freely meldable setting..... bull ... as iff
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    Sun Aug 29, 2004 8:48 pm  

    Obviously, Mortellan doesn't like playing Epic level GH. Don't let that stop you. Even he admits that parts of GH are Epic, he just doesn't want his players to have it. Some campaigns are more high powered than others. I've run Epic and I've run one where 7th level spells were the equivalent of Epic.

    Just keep the flavor consistent. If you are running low magic, then keep the badies that way and remember you might have to tinker with CR (trolls are a lot harder without magic and alchemist). Most people define high magic as high level standard D&D, which is magic rich. But then you are going against people who can summon fiends and have castles made of crystalized blood. Play in the parts of GH (D3 anyone?) which support higher magic play or bring on the logical consequences (magic rich people in the Bandit Kingdoms are going to attract a lot of attention very quickly)>
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    Sun Aug 29, 2004 9:54 pm  

    Almost every 'casual recounting' of the original GH campaigns run by Gygaz, Kuntz, and others runs into the epic, with Rings of Wishes bandied about like cheap trinkets, artefacts traded back and fro, Gods imprisoned left and right, planes visited hither and thon. Seems fairly epic to me.
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    Sun Aug 29, 2004 10:01 pm  

    Oh I am running Epic level GH (as in levels 21+)as we speak, I'm just giving yall a warning. Be prepared! Scale your campaign properly. I was a little lax and careless in allowing my players to have things as they ascended past 21st level, that coupled with their tendency to munchkinize at high levels produced a party that became throughly too irresponsible to be heroes of Oerth any longer. Designs are in place to give them a hasty exit. So in closing, if the power of Epic (read:Epic magic and items)doesn't get to your players heads then it'll be fun. I just drew a bad lot.
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    Tue Aug 31, 2004 12:35 am  

    Abysslin wrote:
    I'm fairly sure Mortellan was accepting Oerthblood as petroleum in a serious manner, Tzelios.


    Yes, I misread his message.

    Abysslin wrote:
    Also, I believe this only further supports Oerth Blood as being a suggestable source. Afterall isn't petroleum what is left over after from bodies in which the soul has left its mortal confines in ages past? Sounds rather mystifying to me.


    Yes, I can follow your logic. You can be wright.
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    Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:47 am  

    *quickly puts away notes for GH magic shops innocently* Embarassed
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    Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:53 am  

    Thread Necromancy. A thread over at EN World got my brain scheming about the possibilities of ley lines on Oerth, again.

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/242862-moving-leylines.html
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    Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:06 am  

    mortellan wrote:
    Good question. ...7) Speaking of Epochs, some time before CY 998 we know the Epoch of Magic ends so that infers a source of some kind is used up, burnt out early, or barred. Knowledge of the Art couldn't just go away in @ 400 years when the last 2000 was steeped in it.

    That's all I got for now, very intriguing.


    My belief is that the genius of Gygax fully employs and applies to oerth the hesiodic myth of races (or the similar hinduistic myth of four yugas, and so on) with a twist probably (?) with respect to application on oerth.

    More or less, Hesiod stated that races morally decline as technology and civilization advances. Gygax takes that and twists it like that:

    Proposition 1. As time passes magic declines in WoG.

    There exists more evidence in the sources that the above is true. Take for instance the so called mages of power.

    Another evidence for the above proposition is the entity of Master Entropy, which is a deification of the physical quality of entropy. Gygax fully employs entropy within WoG, but this is one of the apocrypha, the carefully hidden secrets, that the fun may acknowledge only if he reads the Gord novels. In thermodymics there is a similar decline law, viz. the second thermodynamics law: order declines as time passes. Gygax understood physics and used physics in past electronic private communications with me. He fully incorporates such elements in WoG. Therefore, I can say with safety that magic is inherent part of all mater, it is distributed on all molecules of WoG, and declines as time passes. There is no particular source, it is distributed on all mater.

    Regards,

    --tz
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    Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:11 am  

    Oerth's magic apparently runs in ley-lines where magic is enhanced or stronger, according to The Star Cairns. I don't think much has been done with this theory, but it might be interesting to trace lines between the major magical sites of Oerth to create a ley-line map.

    Aeolius already linked the the ENWorld thread that I was about to link to. I was going to add an example of how the theory proposed there might work, like how moving the Hand of Vecna might move the ley-lines with it.

    I'm not sure what interpretation would be best. Should ley-lines be eternal, with those who wish to take advantage of them forced to map them out and change their plans accordingly? Should the ley-lines themselves warp blueprints without the builders' knowledge to fit ancient geographical destinies? Is the wielder of the Hand of Vecna fated to move from ley-line to ley-line and ultimately perish on a ley-line regardless of his or her will? Or should the lines be constantly shifting and changing as the arcane artifacts of Oerth continue their slow, eldritch dance?

    What kinds of game-effects should they have? Something relevant to the PCs, like "divination spells are enhanced if you stand on this line?" Do they create wells of power that alter the landscape and life around them and which can be tapped into only with specific obscure rites? Perhaps they don't enhance magic at all, but merely define the way it flows as it moves across the globe.

    Wells of enhanced magic were mentioned in Sean K. Reynold's "Core Beliefs: Boccob" article too. It suggested that wizards can tap into them, but that they might be a finite resource, and will eventually be tapped out - but those who share the resource with others find they last longer. because the more people who use magic, the more the magic stored in such "spellfountains" grows. One could, if pressed, formalize that idea with a point system: every spell cast in the area adds a point to the reservoir, and these points can be drawn from the site by those who know how. A magical college might ensure that the magic could be harvested indefinitely, while a lone, greedy mage could quickly exhaust it. And when all such sites are tapped out, perhaps then Oerth's magic ends?

    Perhaps dweornite/oerthblood is calcified magic.
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    Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:12 am  

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this, so bear with me...

    If we take an established belief, thanks to the Wizard of Oz:
    Witches of the West/East = Evil, Witches of the North/South = Good

    And apply a bit of cartography:
    Latitude = North/South, Longitude = East/West

    Therefore latitudinal ley lines = Good, longitudinal leylines = Evil

    One could establish a magical network that conforms to D&D's alignment system of Good/Evil/Neutral by assuming that Good draws upon latitudinal ley lines, Evil draws upon longitudinal ley lines, and Neutral draws from both.

    Greyhawk ley lines.... Greylines? ;)
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    Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:16 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    Perhaps dweornite/oerthblood is calcified magic.


    My current game began within the region of Turucambi, which I decided was actually devised to siphon grains of Oerthblood from the sea.

    If one defines Oerthblood as an element, then it stands to reason that one could have Oerthblood elementals, half-Oerthblood individuals, Planetouched/Oerthblooded beings, and perhaps a modified Green Star Adept, the Oerthblood Adept.
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    Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:14 pm  

    Oerthblood isn’t petroleum. It is described in several sources as molten metal.
    https://melkot.com/arcane/materials.html

    https://ghwiki.greyparticle.com/index.php/Oerthblood

    Just for some references.
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    Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:19 pm  

    I would imagine that as originally published, Greyhawk would have used Gygax's 1E theory of the nature of magic found in the 1E DMG, p.40.

    As described, the verbal components are "charged with energy from the Positive or Negative Material Plane"; "This power then taps the desired plane (whether or not the spell user has any idea of what or where it is) to cause the spell to function. It is much like plugging in a heater; the electrical outlet does not hold all of the electrical energy to cause the heater to function, but the wires leading from it, ultimately to the power station, bring the electricity to the desired location."

    The description goes on to say that somatic components "control and specify the direction, target, area, etc. of the spell effects" and that material components are expended to provide energy that "balances out this flow" of energy from the other plane.

    IE - originally the source of power was intended to be other planes, especially the Positive/Negative planes.
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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:24 am  

    WingofCoot wrote:
    I would imagine that as originally published, Greyhawk would have used Gygax's 1E theory of the nature of magic found in the 1E DMG, p.40.

    As described, the verbal components are "charged with energy from the Positive or Negative Material Plane"; "This power then taps the desired plane (whether or not the spell user has any idea of what or where it is) to cause the spell to function. It is much like plugging in a heater; the electrical outlet does not hold all of the electrical energy to cause the heater to function, but the wires leading from it, ultimately to the power station, bring the electricity to the desired location."

    The description goes on to say that somatic components "control and specify the direction, target, area, etc. of the spell effects" and that material components are expended to provide energy that "balances out this flow" of energy from the other plane.

    IE - originally the source of power was intended to be other planes, especially the Positive/Negative planes.


    This is a really good find, I think I need to go back and re-read some of the 1e core books. I think you're spot on in thinking Gygax envisioned this as the source of magic for Greyhawk. The WoG sourcebook states that;

    "All planes and times are open to Boccob. He is able to draw either positive power or negative force from the appropriate plane so as to strike fear into undead creatures or actually deliver a rolling cloud of energy like unto a huge wall of fire. He can likewise use a net of negative power to affect creatures drawing on the Positive Material Plane....

    ...The Archmage has the power to cast a Disc of Concordant Opposition, a plane of mixed forces which will blast into nothingness any creature which is not highly resistant to magic."

    Although how elemental magic ties innto that I'm not sure. Perhaps if "all planes and times are open to Boccob" then maybe magic is planar in nature with negative and positive energy as the foundations or glue that binds it all together?
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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:25 am  

    WingofCoot wrote:
    I would imagine that as originally published, Greyhawk would have used Gygax's 1E theory of the nature of magic found in the 1E DMG, p.40.

    As described, the verbal components are "charged with energy from the Positive or Negative Material Plane"; "This power then taps the desired plane (whether or not the spell user has any idea of what or where it is) to cause the spell to function. It is much like plugging in a heater; the electrical outlet does not hold all of the electrical energy to cause the heater to function, but the wires leading from it, ultimately to the power station, bring the electricity to the desired location."

    The description goes on to say that somatic components "control and specify the direction, target, area, etc. of the spell effects" and that material components are expended to provide energy that "balances out this flow" of energy from the other plane.

    IE - originally the source of power was intended to be other planes, especially the Positive/Negative planes.


    This is a really good find, I think I need to go back and re-read some of the 1e core books. I think you're spot on in thinking Gygax envisioned this as the source of magic for Greyhawk. The WoG sourcebook states that;

    "All planes and times are open to Boccob. He is able to draw either positive power or negative force from the appropriate plane so as to strike fear into undead creatures or actually deliver a rolling cloud of energy like unto a huge wall of fire. He can likewise use a net of negative power to affect creatures drawing on the Positive Material Plane....

    ...The Archmage has the power to cast a Disc of Concordant Opposition, a plane of mixed forces which will blast into nothingness any creature which is not highly resistant to magic."

    Although how elemental magic ties innto that I'm not sure. Perhaps if "all planes and times are open to Boccob" then maybe magic is planar in nature with negative and positive energy as the foundations or glue that binds it all together?
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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:27 am  

    WingofCoot wrote:
    I would imagine that as originally published, Greyhawk would have used Gygax's 1E theory of the nature of magic found in the 1E DMG, p.40.

    As described, the verbal components are "charged with energy from the Positive or Negative Material Plane"; "This power then taps the desired plane (whether or not the spell user has any idea of what or where it is) to cause the spell to function. It is much like plugging in a heater; the electrical outlet does not hold all of the electrical energy to cause the heater to function, but the wires leading from it, ultimately to the power station, bring the electricity to the desired location."

    The description goes on to say that somatic components "control and specify the direction, target, area, etc. of the spell effects" and that material components are expended to provide energy that "balances out this flow" of energy from the other plane.

    IE - originally the source of power was intended to be other planes, especially the Positive/Negative planes.


    This is a really good find, I think I need to go back and re-read some of the 1e core books. I think you're spot on in thinking Gygax envisioned this as the source of magic for Greyhawk. The WoG sourcebook states that;

    "All planes and times are open to Boccob. He is able to draw either positive power or negative force from the appropriate plane so as to strike fear into undead creatures or actually deliver a rolling cloud of energy like unto a huge wall of fire. He can likewise use a net of negative power to affect creatures drawing on the Positive Material Plane....

    ...The Archmage has the power to cast a Disc of Concordant Opposition, a plane of mixed forces which will blast into nothingness any creature which is not highly resistant to magic."

    Although how elemental magic ties innto that I'm not sure. Perhaps if "all planes and times are open to Boccob" then maybe magic is planar in nature with negative and positive energy as the foundations or glue that binds it all together?
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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:17 am  

    Nice bit of threadomancy! This is a great topic that I hope can be revisited more. It took place in 2004 so what have we learned or added to Greyhawk magic lore since then? Living GH ended in 2008, print Dragon Magazine lasted till 2007 and digital Dragon till 2013. Surely there is something new to add.
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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:45 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:


    My thought was that between 591 and 998 CY, the Great War for the fate of the Oerth (and ultimately the multiverse) will be fought, where to win, the forces of Balance (or at least everyone who doens't want to see Tharizdun return) will have to sacrifice magic to prevent Tharizdun's awakening and the utter destruction of the Multiverse. The Staff is reformed, the Law is restored, magic (both arcane and divine) and the magical races and creatures begin to dwindle and die and eventually Oerth becomes a largely mundane technological world sometime in the second millenium CY.

    P.


    Things like this, where magic vanished and non-human races disappear with it, always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    Why should I be invested in the plights and passions of the elves or dwarves if they're fated to go extinct anyway? What does any of it matter when the endgame has already been decided? If the demihumans' fate is predestined, then what's the point of being attached to them?

    That's why I prefer to keep these things open-ended, and why I ignore the idea that Oerth's magic is fading. Oerth's magic is in my version derived directly from the Astral Plane. It's an infinite force, with no beginning or end, and it can be drawn on ad infinitum not just by mortal arcane spellcasters, but everyone from dragons, fiends and celestials casting their innate spells to gods granting divine magic to their mortal servants.

    That same magic allows oil to burn trolls, but utterly fail to power an engine. It ensures that gunpowder is either completely inert or utterly destroys anyone who tries to use it. It causes electrical devices to become utterly inert, vehicles to immediately lose power, steam engines to explode in boiling water and shrapnel instead of powering anything.

    As the Astral Plane is one of the fundamental forces of the universe, magic will always exist. So there's no fading, no eventual loss of sorcery.

    It is eternal.

    It's as simple as that.
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    Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:10 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    Things like this, where magic vanished and non-human races disappear with it, always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    Why should I be invested in the plights and passions of the elves or dwarves if they're fated to go extinct anyway? What does any of it matter when the endgame has already been decided? If the demihumans' fate is predestined, then what's the point of being attached to them?


    I am right there with you, CSL. Never since the issue was first mentioned did I consider that my Greyhawk would lose its magic.

    However, I am intrigued by the idea of magic waxing and waning over a long period of time. I especially like the 1,500 year cycle proposed by Kirt, above. That is an idea I can get behind - as long as magic never completely disappears. I think I would be limited in the extent to which the power of magic waxed and waned, but it could make for some interesting history.

    As to Oerthblood, I envision it as a viscous liquid that can be hardened by the application of magic. Perhaps it is extremely difficult to add magic to it, but the result is a metal that makes the best steel seem like plastic. Perhaps it is so valuable because it is very easy to add magic to it - it requires less power (level), resources, and energy to add magic to it and it may be turned into a metal as hard as adamantite.

    Not enough is known about it yet. It is a mystery for my players to explore at high level, if it is of interest to them. :)

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    Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:59 pm  

    Wolfling wrote:
    The WoG sourcebook states that;

    "All planes and times are open to Boccob. He is able to draw either positive power or negative force from the appropriate plane


    Very good point! I think that is fairly definite that the DMG model was still in the picture in 1983 (I think that's the right year?)

    Quote:

    Although how elemental magic ties innto that I'm not sure. Perhaps if "all planes and times are open to Boccob" then maybe magic is planar in nature with negative and positive energy as the foundations or glue that binds it all together?


    Well there is also a reference in that DMG bit to "some plane of the multiverse" - I think it doesn't always have to be the positive or negative plane, those are just especially suitable energy sources.

    Actually, as worded, it seems to say that the 'lighting the fuse' energy of the verbal components is either Positive or Negative, but the energy for the spell effect itself which is 'set off' can tap some other plane...

    Maybe cleric spells draw from the deity's Outer Plane, and elemental magic draws from an Elemental Plane?

    I think one could argue that 'magic' is most fundamentally the force of transfer between planes, which allows all kinds of effects that would otherwise violate conservation of energy/matter etc.

    --

    I agree that magic shouldn't be irrevocably fading -- I strongly dislike that trope's overuse, and it also decreases what PCs can accomplish.

    A *repeating* cycle of strong and weak magic is cool, though.
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    Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:45 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...Things like this, where magic vanished and non-human races disappear with it, always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

    Why should I be invested in the plights and passions of the elves or dwarves if they're fated to go extinct anyway? What does any of it matter when the endgame has already been decided? If the demihumans' fate is predestined, then what's the point of being attached to them? ...


    1) ...well, the PCs don't have to know any of that... Wink

    2) Why would the disappearance of magic necessarily result in the demihumans' extinction?

    3) Even in 998 CY, there's still some magic, so the process would have to be a long one. That would be a very long-term campaign! Laughing

    This is the sort of thing that's interesting to discuss, and might have some small impact on a DM's rulings and schemes, but it's not likely to matter in normal play.

    However, FWIW, I like the cycles theory. For something where it might matter to the players, I offer this: Is there some way to modify the cycle, one way or the other? If so, what?
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    Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:09 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    However, FWIW, I like the cycles theory. For something where it might matter to the players, I offer this: Is there some way to modify the cycle, one way or the other? If so, what?


    Well, if you accept the Gygaxian theory that the fundamental nature of magic is transfer of energy from other planes, a cycle would presumably mean that barriers between the planes were more or less permeable at different times.

    Some artifacts might be able to affect this, at least locally (e.g. defying the cycle for a particular kingdom or realm - which is more or less what Galadriel is doing with her Elven-ring in LOTR, I think). The Codex of the Infinite Planes might be a good choice.

    The summoning of a really powerful extraplanar being (demi-god, demon lord, etc.) might also cause temporary "blips" in the cycle.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:56 pm  

    WingofCoot wrote:
    The summoning of a really powerful extraplanar being (demi-god, demon lord, etc.) might also cause temporary "blips" in the cycle.


    In the interview "22 Questions about Tharizdun," Gygax discussed the possibility of a 1000-year cycle in which Tharizdun becomes more conscious.

    Quote:
    While I had not contemplated the scenario of a thousand year surge cycle, if you will, it IS a very interesting idea. Assuming that for one one-thousandth of each millenium of imprisonment Tharizdun "awakes" slightly and is able to directly influence things because no binding can ever be perfect in the magical formulation as postulated in all mythology, then such a cycle is reasonable. Indeed, it does explain not merely the Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation in the Suel-Baklunish Wars, but perhaps even the more recent cataclysm that overtook Oerth:)

    Q5: If you answered yes to Q4, Is this cyclical nature tied to anything in particular? (Maybe the cycle of the solar system, for a regular cycle, or the discovery of some of the Theorparts, for irregular cycles)

    If accepted as part and parcel of the binding of Tharizdun, then the cycle would be of exactly 1,000 years. However, the avatars of Tharizdun, as well as the Theorparts activation, would cause aberrations in the cycle, including adding lesser "windows" or increasing the effect of the periodic one in regards the amount of energy available to Big T.


    "Core Beliefs—Boccob" in Dragon #338 blamed Tharizdun for the slow decline of magic on Oerth. "He [Boccob] believes that Tharizdun... is somehow responsible despite his confinement." This is paraphrased from Eric L. Boyd's "Powers That Be—Boccob: Lord of All Mages" in Polyhedron #128. "Boccob suspects, but cannot prove, that Tharizdun is behind magic's slow waning, and thus actively contributes to the Dark God's long-standing imprisonment."
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