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Providing comprehensible explanations as to why something works in a fictional setting is not the same as using realism, history or tradition to argue if a setting is good or not. It just has to be conclusive and not break its own rules.

 

So, arguing that a fictional setting in which everybody *can* (not necessarily has to) achieve supernatural powers through the power of his soul is bad because it's not realistic, it's unlike older settings (not traditional) or it doesn't have an equivalent in history is silly I my opinion. You can say you don't like the approach because of those reasons and that's totally fair - but calling it bad or even retarded design like OP did is just silly.

 

I like realism even in fantasy games but this is indeed a question of taste. You can't prove anything by using realism in such a case.

At least OP convinced me that fighters, barbarians and rogues indeed use soul magic in this game. Because of my tastes I was willing to overlook this and think about those abilities as abstractions.

 

If it is any consolation I can remind the OP that not every fighter, barbarian or rogue in Eora will be able to use those magical abilities. Most of them will be stuck to mundane tricks because they will be too low level.

The characters that we play are legendary heroes. They are an exception, not a rule.

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the central conceit of the eora setting is that souls exist and can be harnessed and utilized. so of course everybody can do some cool soul-stuff.

 

My understanding is that this only applies to beings whose souls are not "fractured". For most of the population, these powers are beyond them as fracturing is a cumulative process during the recycling of souls. Hence, you and your party are (supposedly) relatively uncommon in possessing these abilities. This makes it akin to possessing superpowers in a heroes campaign.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Uh, all fighters, barbarians and rogues you meet in game use these abilities. Meaning they're all legendary heroes with legendary souls and legendary soul magic.

 

If it was different: say, only key figures, rulers, very successful folk, bosses, would use it and distribute it somehow between their goons, then indeed, soul magic would at least make society look a bit different. That would also mean that most of population would be somewhat enslaved to these powerful "awakened" souls. Which would lead to different setting.

 

There's nothing heroic or special about what you do when you look at other NPCs and characters, it's same meaningless stuff as being a Watcher. Watchers gonna watch.

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P.S.: And as we are already on the "nowadays kids" level. In my opinion D&D has irreparably corrupted fantasy literature and is the main reason for what I would call fantasy positivism or in medical terms explainitis fantastis.

 

I'm pretty sure Brandon Sanderson had more influence in that regard, if you're talking about the kind of fantasy I think you are talking about.

 

"An author's ability to solve conflict with magic is directly proportional to how well the reader understands said magic." Essentially so it isn't being used as a Deus Ex Machina. If the reader feels that anything can happen at any time because "magic", then there will be significantly less tension and investment in whatever is going on.

And more relevent to this topic:

"Expand on what you already have before you add something new." Something PoE does (with the concept of souls) and D&D does not (ergo all the different sources of magi - arcane, divine, pact, whatever godless paladins use). Of course D&D is an RPG sandbox for characters and worldbuilding, so this very excusable. If a DM wants to invent some sort of internal consistency, they are more than able to do so. 

 

https://coppermind.net/wiki/Sanderson%27s_Laws_of_Magic

And here is the far more detailed and nuanced explanation. 

 

It's important to note that the reverse of the first quote is equally valid. i.e. a setting where the reader understand very little about the magic, but the magic is also very rarely used to solve conflict. A Song of Ice and Fire is a good example of this. Game of Thrones... used to be (sigh).

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Uh, all fighters, barbarians and rogues you meet in game use these abilities. Meaning they're all legendary heroes with legendary souls and legendary soul magic.

 

If it was different: say, only key figures, rulers, very successful folk, bosses, would use it and distribute it somehow between their goons, then indeed, soul magic would at least make society look a bit different. That would also mean that most of population would be somewhat enslaved to these powerful "awakened" souls. Which would lead to different setting.

 

There's nothing heroic or special about what you do when you look at other NPCs and characters, it's same meaningless stuff as being a Watcher. Watchers gonna watch.

 

Selection bias: the barbarians and rogues you encounter possess these abilities. That's not a random sample.

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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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If it was different: say, only key figures, rulers, very successful folk, bosses, would use it and distribute it somehow between their goons, then indeed, soul magic would at least make society look a bit different. That would also mean that most of population would be somewhat enslaved to these powerful "awakened" souls. Which would lead to different setting.

Obsidian. Mistborn RPG, when?

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"A culture's teachings, and most importantly, the nature of its people, achieve definition in conflict."

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It actually was done somewhat in Tyranny with "sigils". But Tyranny didn't turn out that well on all fronts I believe.

 

But the idea behind Tyranny was way more advanced and eclectic than PoE's not-d&d, it's just that execution failed to deliver, especially when it came to using bronze age as inspiration. And it's magic with custom spells, not super advanced, but compared to PoE - quite special.

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I'm pretty sure Brandon Sanderson had more influence in that regard, if you're talking about the kind of fantasy I think you are talking about.

 

That guy should be sent to Solowki for the rest of his life.

 

 

if you're talking about the kind of fantasy I think you are talking about.

 

Yes, I do. Dont get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with explaining how magic works in your setting, but I have a very great problem with the expectations that exist nowadays regarding that topic. Namely the common comparison to science and the demand that it should be explainable in the same way. Just look at this stupid topic here. "That soul stuff does not make sense" "That soul stuff is lazy". No. It's just their way of dealing with magic. (And it's quite scientific, too.) If magic was a metaphor for science, we could as well use science, couldn't we?

 

Just look at the Discworld books: At first glance magic seems to be the same thing as in D&D: Scientific fireworks. You have the academic mages, you have witches who use earth magic and all that stuff. But it isn't. Magic in that setting means potential, creativity, ideas. A mage can be a mage for his whole life and never cast a spell once, because he lacks what is necessary to do it: potential. Every idea in the discworld can take physical form, because it is time for it or simple because enough people belive in it. In my opinion that's how you deal with magic. I mean, of course the reader gets what magic is about on the Discworld, but most readers don't get it consciously. It just makes sense and you know that while you read it.

 

 

Essentially so it isn't being used as a Deus Ex Machina.

 

What's wrong with that, if done right? The entire movie "The Dragonslayer" was built around a deus ex machina.

Edited by Lord_Mord

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That's dirt cheap world building & too abstract, and makes no sense.

 

Then again, we're talking PoE not-d&d setting. Nvm.

 

Someone has to tell you. Can as well be me.

 

D&D is silly. It is cheap. It has nothing to do with worldbuilding. It is just an incredibly big pile of mythological and fantasy tropes, loosely frankensteined together.

 

I wanted to say that out loud for a very long time.

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What's wrong with that, if done right? The entire movie "The Dragonslayer" was built around a deus ex machina.

 

A Deus Ex Machina is, by definition, not done right. I haven't seen Dragonslayer, so I can't really make a comment on how well that movie does or does not handle its story.

"A culture's teachings, and most importantly, the nature of its people, achieve definition in conflict."

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A Deus Ex Machina is, by definition, not done right.

 

Says who? Homer did it, Shakespeare did it lots of times, Tolkien did it. Lord of the flies ends with a Deus ex machina. It depends on what you want to tell with it.

 

In Dragonslayer the whole point of the story is that in the end the deus ex machina appears.

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Yes, I do. Dont get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with explaining how magic works in your setting, but I have a very great problem with the expectations that exist nowadays regarding that topic. Namely the common comparison to science and the demand that it should be explainable in the same way. 

 

Magic doesn't necessarily need to be "explainable" in the same way that science is. Magic can just exist, but if an author is going to use it in a major way to solve conflicts for their protagonists, they need to provide the reader with an adequate understanding of what it can and can't do. I highly recommend reading the actual article as it goes into all these exceptions, and why this is important. 

 

There definitely exist good stories that don't necessarily do this, but oftentimes (though not always) they could be improved if they did. 

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"A culture's teachings, and most importantly, the nature of its people, achieve definition in conflict."

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A Deus Ex Machina is, by definition, not done right.

 

Says who? Homer did it, Shakespeare did it lots of times, Tolkien did it. Lord of the flies ends with a Deus ex machina. It depends on what you want to tell with it.

 

In Dragonslayer the whole point of the story is that in the end the deus ex machina appears.

 

 

Please don't just list things and assume I know what you are talking about. Shakespeare has written countless plays, the Lord of the Rings is a massive series, I've not read any Homer, and it has been years since I read Lord of the Flies (and Lord of the Flies isn't even fantasy).

 

EDIT

 

Give me quotes. Give me specific examples. Paint me a picture.

Edited by Neckbitbasket
"A culture's teachings, and most importantly, the nature of its people, achieve definition in conflict."

- Kreia -

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I'm pretty sure Brandon Sanderson had more influence in that regard, if you're talking about the kind of fantasy I think you are talking about.

That guy should be sent to Solowki for the rest of his life.

if you're talking about the kind of fantasy I think you are talking about.

Yes, I do. Dont get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with explaining how magic works in your setting, but I have a very great problem with the expectations that exist nowadays regarding that topic. Namely the common comparison to science and the demand that it should be explainable in the same way. Just look at this stupid topic here. "That soul stuff does not make sense" "That soul stuff is lazy". No. It's just their way of dealing with magic. (And it's quite scientific, too.) If magic was a metaphor for science, we could as well use science, couldn't we?

 

Just look at the Discworld books: At first glance magic seems to be the same thing as in D&D: Scientific fireworks. You have the academic mages, you have witches who use earth magic and all that stuff. But it isn't. Magic in that setting means potential, creativity, ideas. A mage can be a mage for his whole life and never cast a spell once, because he lacks what is necessary to do it: potential. Every idea in the discworld can take physical form, because it is time for it or simple because enough people belive in it. In my opinion that's how you deal with magic. I mean, of course the reader gets what magic is about on the Discworld, but most readers don't get it consciously. It just makes sense and you know that while you read it.

Essentially so it isn't being used as a Deus Ex Machina.

What's wrong with that, if done right? The entire movie "The Dragonslayer" was built around a deus ex machina.

Really? Anyone can do science. Please put together the tech for me to build a cell phone. I want you to explain to me the exact process of how a cellular telephone works and I want you to build one for me. Right down to the touch screen, without using google. Hell, go ahead and use google. Wont make a difference. You dont just "use" science. You need to understand the very complicated concepts that underly it. And unless I missed something and you have a phd in a scientific field, I doubt you qualify.

 

Explain to me microbal culturing and gram stains, in conjunction with targeted antibiotic therapy. Sure, you can copy paste from google, but you get my point. Science is not simply done. You must learn it. It takes years of study. The same goes with magic in most lore.

Edited by Darkprince048
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I suppose it isn't a matter of realism, it's a matter of presentation. The thing is, in Baldur-like cRPG (BG, Icewind Dale, PoE, Torment etc.) there is only one class: a fighter. You add (and substract) animations, descriptions, names etc., shoot a Minoletta Magic Missile instead of an arrow, but it's still a fighter. However, it's one thing to intellectually understand that cRPG is an abstraction, and that there is no real difference between a wizard and a rogue or a fighter, but it's another to have it shoved in your face. And with wizards and priests in PoE 2 it's really, painfully obvious...

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Hamlet. Apart from some minor Deus ex machina thoughout the story most notably in the end Fortinbras arrives to take control over Denmark and prevent the land from falling into chaos.

In As You Like It, Hymenaios comes to the mass wedding to sort out the problems of Rosalind's stay and disguise in the Forest of Arden.

The lord of the flies ends with a ship appearing, just at the moment where the protagonist is to be killed.

And you will shurely remember the eagles in LotR.

I won't tell you the and of the dragonslayer, as it's a major spoiler.

Edited by Lord_Mord
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The film Dragonslayer is thirty-seven years old.  I think its well over the limit to be worried about spoiling it for other people (pretty much any old film one could watch you'll have a chance to spoil it if you want to by looking it up online).

 

 

To kill the Dragon Vermithrax Pejorative, a group heads out to enlist the aid of the last sorcerer, Ulrich of Craggenmoor.  One of the soldiers doesn't believe Ulrich has any powers so Ulrich tells him to stab him.  He does and Ulrich dies.  He makes his servant and apprentice, Galen, agree to join the group to help them and to spread his ashes over a lake of burning water.  Galen takes his mentors ashes and amulet, and joins the group per the wishes of his master.

 

When they eventually confront the dragon and are overmatched, Galen is given a vision by the amulet that the lake of fire is in the Dragon's lair.  He finds it, and throws the ashes onto it.  This brings Ulrich back from death; he was too physically weak to make the journey so concocted this way to confront the dragon.  Ulrich and Vermithrax fight, and when the dragon has the sorcerer in its grasp, Ulrich commands Galen smashes the amulet killing Ulrich by releasing his magical power.  The resulting explosion also kills the dragon.

 

 

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Hamlet. Apart from some minor Deus ex most notably in the end Fortinbras arrives to take control over Denmark and prevent the land from falling into chaos.

Everyone is dead. Fortinbras's arrival solved nothing (at least nothing important to the conflict of the story), and was actually set up at the beginning of the story. This does not qualify as a Deus Ex Machina. The conflict of Hamlet is not Denmark's stability, it is Hamlet avenging his father's murder.

 

In As You Like It, Hymenaios comes to the mass wedding to sort out the problems of Rosalind's stay and disguise in the Forest of Arden.

This is a greek to me. Nothing against your point, I just don't have the context to understand what this means.

 

The lord of the flies ends with a ship appearing, just at the moment where the protagonist is to be killed.

This is technically a Deus Ex Machina, although Lord of the Flies is more about the journey than the ending. This ending does not detract from the conflict of the story, and in actuality, serves to punctuate it because now the boys will have to deal with readjusting to civilization knowing the horrors of what they've done.

 

And you will shurely remember the eagles in LotR.

Yes, and it is a common criticism of the movies, and a prime example of a Deus Ex Machina. Once again, this doesn't ruin the journey, but many many people do have a problem with this aspect of the ending.

 

The issue with magic that lacks rules and limitations understood by the reader is that it also has the potential to ruin the journey. Otherwise, it just becomes arbitrary what conflicts magic can and can't resolve. Harry Potter is a great example of this. It's also part of the reason I'm conflicted on this topic because it's impossible to deny that Harry Potter is an engaging story to many many people, being one of the most popular YA novels of all time. However, it is an exception, and not the rule. And most people wouldn't hold up Harry Potter as an example of fantastic fantasy literature. My best guess is that it serves more as an escapist novel, than anything else.

 

EDIT

 

Also, did you read the article I linked, because it clarifies a lot of this naunce. For your convenience, I'll link it again. https://coppermind.net/wiki/Sanderson%27s_Laws_of_Magic It even mentions Harry Potter (in passing).

Edited by Neckbitbasket
"A culture's teachings, and most importantly, the nature of its people, achieve definition in conflict."

- Kreia -

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Someone has to tell you. Can as well be me.

D&D is silly. It is cheap. It has nothing to do with worldbuilding. It is just an incredibly big pile of mythological and fantasy tropes, loosely frankensteined together.

 

I wanted to say that out loud for a very long time.

 

Cheap sensationalism a-la Hamlet sucks?

 

It's silly - yeah, has silly stuff in it

Cheap - gotta disagree on that, damn rulebooks cost the buck all the time

Nothing to do with worldbuilding - it has ****ton of worldbuilding, many worlds, many settings - created exactly to experience many eras and mythological tales

Frankensteined - and PoE is frankensteined from that. And you backed it twice.

 

You wanted to say it out loud to me, or on this forum, or what?

 

Get to the point.

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Providing comprehensible explanations as to why something works in a fictional setting is not the same as using realism, history or tradition to argue if a setting is good or not. It just has to be conclusive and not break its own rules.

 

So, arguing that a fictional setting in which everybody *can* (not necessarily has to) achieve supernatural powers through the power of his soul is bad because it's not realistic, it's unlike older settings (not traditional) or it doesn't have an equivalent in history is silly I my opinion. You can say you don't like the approach because of those reasons and that's totally fair - but calling it bad or even retarded design like OP did is just silly.

 

QFT.

 

Also PoE is not D&D. 

 

If the people like the OP prefer D&D that's perfectly fine but there is no reason to bad mouth people who don't feel obligated to narrow their gaming universe to only one interpretation (and in all fairness there is room in D&D for a lot more magic depending on the particular setting). 

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Really? Anyone can do science. Please put together the tech for me to build a cell phone. I want you to explain to me the exact process of how a cellular telephone works and I want you to build one for me. Right down to the touch screen, without using google. Hell, go ahead and use google. Wont make a difference. You dont just "use" science. You need to understand the very complicated concepts that underly it. And unless I missed something and you have a phd in a scientific field, I doubt you qualify.

Explain to me microbal culturing and gram stains, in conjunction with targeted antibiotic therapy. Sure, you can copy paste from google, but you get my point. Science is not simply done. You must learn it. It takes years of study. The same goes with magic in most lore.

We get it. You're a medicine man. But what you are responding to is not even relevant to the overall point of the person's post. It's nitpicking, and completely distracting from the conversation. Also, while I certainly never cured cancer in my chemistry classes or used "microbal culturing and gram stains", I did do simple distillations and measurements and even synthesis of compounds. Hell, people practice basic chemical science when they bake food and get tangible results from that.

 

And there you go again with "magic in most lore" when I and several other users have given you examples of incredibly popular and influential lore where this is not the case. Please address those before repeating your same point again and again and again, or stop making it because it's wrong and you have yet to prove otherwise. In fact, you have yet to prove you are familiar with any fantasy literature at all beyond hearsay.

Edited by Neckbitbasket
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"A culture's teachings, and most importantly, the nature of its people, achieve definition in conflict."

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