Saturday, February 1, 2020

Magic is Mundane

Arnold K. has an interesting post that (in part) investigates the border between what is magical and what is mundane. I appreciate it for two main reasons:

  1. It mirrors ancient attitudes about magic (citation needed)
  2. It evokes the fiction of magic realism, in which being magical is no protection from the world.
What is a spell? A popular answer for OSR settings is that a spell is a kind of astral creature that takes up residence in a wizard's mind or scroll, staying until casting the spell sends it back into the aether. I am considering a more mundane approach, that the term "spell" is applied to any difficult technique for altering or understanding reality. If you can perfect the trick of it, you can throw fireballs or fly, just like making your jaw click or dislocate your thumb. If you know the technique or you have a guide to consult, you can weave snakes into your hair. read the future in a flock of birds, and raise the dead.

Someone with a magic die in GLOG is someone with a knack for such tricks. Wizards learn these tricks from books. Clerics throw lightning the same way that gods do, and practitioners partake of drugs that happen to have the medicinal effect of making your body rubbery or invisible or what have you.

Does that mean there is no such thing as an anti-magic field? Magic is mundane after all.  Can magic be detected by spells? What exactly would it be detecting? I suppose spells can still counter spells, just like one military tactic counters another.

Aragorn, a man who can communicate with birds

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