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How fantastic is the Mythic Archipelago?

Discussion in 'Archipelago Archive' started by Mythos, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Mythos

    Mythos Troubadour

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    I have a few questions:
    How much magic is in Mythic Archipelago? The level of magic could vary by civilization, but how varied could we be? What about mythical creatures? Do we include them? Are the gods real?

    I guess that the question I'm asking is: How fantastical is the Mythical Archipelago?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  2. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    I moved this to a new thread, as i am about to lock the original thread. Also it hadn't been responded to. We should really figure this out before we get to far.
     
  3. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    It can certainly vary by civilization, but we should have some sort of understanding about the general world 'degree' of magic, I definitely agree.

    I've been mapping out my bits of the puzzle with the understanding that magic is (if it exists at all) rare and subtle. Perhaps every now and again we'll have somebody in this world who has VAST MAGICAL POWERS, but I'd say they should be exceedingly rare.

    Magic is too easy to abuse, is the thing. It needs no rationalization and has no real limits - unless the author keeps themself internally consistent. Seeing as this entire world is shared, we don't want to make it easy to someone to say 'well, magic makes it possible to do this' when that'll upset the balance of the entire world.
     
  4. desertrunner

    desertrunner Scribe

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    It definitely should be limited. Byrá has no magic but we are merely traders out to make some coin.
     
  5. Mythos

    Mythos Troubadour

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    I do feel that magic should be subtle. Donny, is your oracle magical, or is the trance chemically induced?

    The magic level should be low, but what powers would be acceptable? The way Indaeos is developing I don't think that I'll need magic, but I'm not entirely sure.

    For the mythical creatures I like the idea that every island has their own kinds that have adapted to the climate and whatnot.
     
  6. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    My oracle is a sham, actually. There is no magic, just cryptic ambiguous phrasings that could mean anything. I'm actually debating moving in a more science-oriented direction with my island. My current reading selections have reminded me that alchemy was considered a science at one point. Just because it didn't pan out on earth doesn't mean it has to be the same here. A lot of things normally provided by magic can substitute alchemy instead, thereby giving it a non-magical means of existence.

    It rather stands to reason it would have sprung up on Rekhnal as well, what with the dearth of gold. If the alchemists kept trying to make gold and then realized they'd invented nine actually useful things that would make them more money than the gold would have...
     
  7. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I'm going to be concentrating on animals more than magic for Aal Frum.
     
  8. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I think we're pretty settled that magic should be kept low-key, then. I have precisely one 'magical' thing in mind for my own part. When the warriors of a certain people spend a long, long time in the deepest, darkest caves, their eyes acquire a silver sheen and they begin to be able to see in the dark - any bright light begins to hurt their eyes, and those warriors tend not to come to the surface in the daylight.

    This, I think, might be a good pattern to stick to. Magic may exist, but it isn't exactly 'free power,' no matter how it manifests.
     
    Mythos likes this.
  9. I plan for my nation of Say Taru, (one of three nations on my island), to be somewhat magically inclined. Not too sure to what level yet though. I think their main danger will be one of technology under the guise of magic, rather than magic itself.
     
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    So we just set limits on technology as well.
     
  11. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I'll be fairly primitive with a history of whatever tech we agree on.
     
  12. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    I think it pretty much has to be set as pre-steam power, as that is what kicked off the industrial revolution in reality, anyway. Once any type of engine is designed, people keep working on ways to make it more useful, powerful, efficient, etc. Maybe rumors that someplace on the other side of the world is developing it would be ok, but I think if we want a 'traditional' fantasy feel, it needs to be pre-industrial. Otherwise you wander into steampunk and other subsets that not everyone here is necessarily equipped or wished to write in.
     
  13. desertrunner

    desertrunner Scribe

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    @Donny Bruso Agreed. Tech wise you can do quite a few things with out the aid of steam or anything more advanced than that if you are clever. It also adds some challenge to think outside of the norm to still have a technological advantage.
     
  14. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    I also agree with Donny pre-steam is a pretty good guide. There are plenty of examples of ancient peoples building wonders of engineering without the use of any kind of engine or modern machinery, *cough*the pyramids*cough,* if you want something you can probably figure out a way to get it.
     
  15. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Also I will probably be sticking to magical/mythical creatures for my island. I'm having fun looking up myths from the northern regions of our world.
     
  16. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Be sure to check out the Finns—and if you have access to the materials, the smaller Finno-Ugric peoples spread out across the northern reaches of Russia. (Wikipedia appears to have this filed under "Uralic mythologies," to give you a starting point.)
     
    myrddin173 likes this.
  17. jhahilt

    jhahilt Dreamer

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    Hi

    Returning to a point raised at the beginning of this thread, are Gods real ? Do they manifest and meddle in matters of the mundane ? Or are they found where all gods belong, between the covers of weighty tomes, leather bound if you must,or at a pinch on a tasteful leadlight window in some conveniently secluded temple. Having deities pop out from behind every tree or skulking under otherwise innocuous rocks, would I feel make any "normal" activity difficult at best.

    @myrddin173 - check out the "Kalevala". Not the easiest of reads but a goldmine of mythology from the Finns.

    Cheers
     
  18. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    I'm pretty sure we're going with "abstract" deities here: they may or may not be real, but divine intervention isn't a part of everyday life. It goes along with low-key magic... since divinities, spirits, demons, etc. largely fall under the category of "magic" themselves (in the sense of sources of power).

    It's a good question, though, and one I always raise whenever discussions of divine beings in fantasy worlds comes up; as I've said more than once, if the gods actually exist, it changes everything--or at least should, if they're anything like what their followers claim they are. The only reason I didn't raise it here was because someone beat me to it. ;)

    For Cholu Gezinshar, I don't plan on having the "gods" actually "do" anything: maybe their followers receive certain low-key benefits, maybe they just think they do. The "spirits," on the other hand, are going to at least seem to interact with the shamans of the land--though again, this might be nothing more than psychological: a certain mindset that allows the shaman to reach good, useful inductive conclusions subconsciously. At any rate, no one's going to be encountering avatars of their deities, summoning Great Old Ones to wreak devastation upon their enemies, or learning the Sixth Forbidden Curse in the Lost Grimoire from a helpful, loquacious summoned demon.

    Does this sound about right to everyone else? Considering what can happen with genuinely extant deities, we probably should adopt a policy here.

    ***

    P.S. Yes, the Kalevala is the primary source for Finnish lore at this point. I find it quite readable... though this may have as much to do with me as with the book. Are you using the Magoun translation? (Are you using a translation? It would be a bit more difficult for most of us to read it in the original.... :p ) The Crawford translation is available at Project Gutenberg, here:

    Kalevala : the Epic Poem of Finland

    ...for those not wanting to track down a physical text: it is particularly useful for quick mythology research, as it includes an extensive introduction detailing the various beings of Finnish legend, placing them in a single context, sparing the casual reader from having to sift through the whole text for the scattered references. (Project Gutenberg, by the way, is an outstanding site for public-domain texts: most of its 36k texts can be read online, downloaded as HTML or in various other formats, including Kindle... and they're all free. Check it out. Oh, by the way: if you do want to see what the original looks like--in Finnish--they have that, too. :cool: )
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  19. jhahilt

    jhahilt Dreamer

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    Hi

    Abstract is great, as far as the deities go. The mischief that gods can engender in people is more than enough, let alone allowing them license to smite and manifest at will.

    The translation of the Kalevala I have is by W F Kirby, a British folklorist. I was born a Finn and have read it in Finnish, but it was a struggle and I find the English version flows better. This could be a personal foible because I now definitely regard English as being my natural "mother" tongue.

    Thanks for the link to Gutenberg, I read the intro to the Crawford translation and found the history fascinating.

    Cheers.
     
  20. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Quite welcome.

    Well, your Finnish is better than mine, then. Not that that's exactly difficult: I generally recognize it when I see it, can usually distinguish it from Estonian as long as it's more than a word or two, and in an emergency could manage baby-talk translations with the reference materials I have. Which still puts me a long way from reading Lönnrot.

    The Magoun translation definitely does not flow better: it is an attempt at a close-as-possible-to-literal rendition. So anything you dislike stylistically in the original, you'd dislike here, too–though without even the added benefit of consistently-metered verse. Crawford took the usual Victorian way out (no surprise, since he was Victorian), so his is metered, and some of the stylistic devices (repetition in particular) get partially suppressed, if an quick sampling is indicative. For anyone else needing to choose between the two, I'd say go with Crawford, unless you're really into precision (or comparative translation). Besides, his is free. ;) I'll have to see if I can find Kirby somewhere.
     
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