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The Old Hack

Story Wednesday January 31, 2018

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State secrets are the most fleeting of all.  If anybody could still get magic after a major revision, the ability to get it will spread like wildfire through the internet. Arthur is betting on a losing horse.

That's before we talk about what happens if some Seers refuse to  go along with secrecy.  It just takes one "Information wants to be free" Seer.

If magic wants to make a massive change, a part of that change must be to limit who can get magic to some select group.  magic cannot be open to everybody anymore.

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6 hours ago, mlooney said:

As much as I hate to say it, I about 80% on with Arthur J Arthur about keeping magic secret.

Me, too. My main reasons for not being 100% is that as others have argued, evil people have already gotten hold of magic and have been exploiting it with far too much success. My other reason is that if it becomes publicly known, ordinary people will finally have recourse to authorities or even private experts on magic to help them if they are in trouble. (I think there may be one of these in Chicago's Yellow Pages.) Also, Tedd was specifically working on inventing magitech that would allow ordinary people some kind of defence against hostile magic.

Ironically, I believe that Arthur's conviction in part stems exactly from seeing what evil people who have gotten hold of magic can do. Denying people like that access to magic for what he hopes may be decades could be a powerful motivator for him. If he has spent all his life specifically being a fireman engaged in putting down troublemakers of this kind it would explain much, including that he considers this so much more important than what good things might be possible with magic.

6 hours ago, mlooney said:

Magic in EGS does seem to give spells out based on who you are, not a set list of spells.  Bad Tom gets magic, any bets he gets "Charm Person" or something like that?  Want to live in a world where he and other twits like him have that?  And that's just a fairly harmless option.  There are actively evil people out there as well, even in the EGSverse as given.  Notice that one of the vampires was also a mage.  Not Good.

This is not even mentioning the synergy between magic and science. Imagine a 'harmless' ability to make people follow your suggestions for half an hour or so. Then imagine someone ruthless enough to use that ability to gain access to people who are responsible for nuclear weapons and tell them to open fire on someplace he doesn't like. Or entering the CDC and asking for some nice samples of Ebola and letting then loose in JFK Airport outside New York City.

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2 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

Oh good. You have just made me envision Dvorak as a seer.

5d7IwWM.gif

...blowing a battlecruiser-size hole in Arthur's argument.

it's kind of sad to say but a plan that depends on a group of people instinctively doing the right thing always ends with everybody dead, the dirigible in flames and at least one lost hat.

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4 minutes ago, Vorlonagent said:

...blowing a battlecruiser-size hole in Arthur's argument.

it's kind of sad to say but a plan that depends on a group of people instinctively doing the right thing always ends with everybody dead, the dirigible in flames and at least one lost hat.

I absolutely agree with this. Mind you, I feel that there is an important distinction to make: it doesn't blow a hole in the logic of Arthur's argument, only in its practicality. That is important, too, of course, but bear with me here, I am an anal-retentive old blowhard who likes to nitpick this kind of thing. (If for no other reason than because if the practical problems could be solved, the logic would still apply.)

A still greater problem with this is of course that it may not even require a seer with this attitude, depending on how New Magic works. All it might take is a seer's student with that attitude. He or she could then form a school or a cult or whatever and eventually the information would leak from that, too.

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1 minute ago, The Old Hack said:

I absolutely agree with this. Mind you, I feel that there is an important distinction to make: it doesn't blow a hole in the logic of Arthur's argument, only in its practicality. That is important, too, of course, but bear with me here, I am an anal-retentive old blowhard who likes to nitpick this kind of thing. (If for no other reason than because if the practical problems could be solved, the logic would still apply.)

A still greater problem with this is of course that it may not even require a seer with this attitude, depending on how New Magic works. All it might take is a seer's student with that attitude. He or she could then form a school or a cult or whatever and eventually the information would leak from that, too.

Agreed.  the situation would be extremely fragile and prone to coming apart at the seams very easily.

...IF magic continues to be theoretically open to everybody.  

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5 minutes ago, Vorlonagent said:

Agreed.  the situation would be extremely fragile and prone to coming apart at the seams very easily.

...IF magic continues to be theoretically open to everybody.  

Which it will, theoretically, if Immortals retain their ability to empower. And if the Will of Magic is only the Will of Human magic, it/he/she/them can't do anything to Immortals. Perhaps the WoM was empowered by the Immortals to keep humans from becoming powerful enough to challenge them. 

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8 minutes ago, Tom Sewell said:

Which it will, theoretically, if Immortals retain their ability to empower. And if the Will of Magic is only the Will of Human magic, it/he/she/them can't do anything to Immortals. Perhaps the WoM was empowered by the Immortals to keep humans from becoming powerful enough to challenge them. 

Hm. If it was, they have somehow forgotten or repressed it. Even Pandora seemed ignorant of the Will of Magic when she first met Disco Wizard.

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4 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

Hm. If it was, they have somehow forgotten or repressed it. Even Pandora seemed ignorant of the Will of Magic when she first met Disco Wizard.

They've forgotten and repressed a lot from what we've seen. However, the Emissary was very quick to back down when Pandora asked him about his chances. Apparently the Will of Magic didn't empower its emissary enough to stand up to that particular Immortal, perhaps because it could not.

Voltaire could be an exception here. If Voltaire knew a Change was coming, it's reasonable to think he might know about the Will of Magic which would bring about that change. And if Voltaire does know about the WoM, he doesn't seem to be afraid of it.

It's all unproven theory, of course. I'm just bringing up a few things that might help support my notions.

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1 minute ago, Tom Sewell said:

It's all unproven theory, of course. I'm just bringing up a few things that might help support my notions.

Sure thing and it certainly isn't impossible. Even Pandora herself admitted that she might not know all there is to know.

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So, no votes for making weak magics universal and greater magics expensive and selective?

Also, Magic is a tool which can be used for good or evil. The nature of current magic is specific and unique to the individual, but that doesn't have to be the case. Major change can be done to fundamentally alter the nature of magic if the seers convince the Will of Magic to do so. For example, a more "scientific" magic with hard rules may make individual spells weaker but amp up the effects of cumulative spells, much as a single battery only makes a middling flashlight while a complex array of batteries and circuits can create a railgun or computer. More specific rules can be set up to limit great magics to those deemed "sane" and "moral" by the seers, preventing criminals and maniacs from causing too much damage.

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@The Old Hack Have you read JoJo's Many people in JoJo have an abilty that is seemingly useless or harmless but they think of very creative ways to use it. For example in part 4 the main character who is very gentle person and as such they get the abilty to reconstruct things and they and usually uses it to heal people. But when their family is threaten by a serial killer he can also use it to do such things as fuse said serial killer with a rock.

 

The reason I am pointing this out is that JoJo's is a great example of a limited power can be used creatively and even dangerously not just by villains but by heroes. It's all in how you use the tools you have.

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*reads comic*

*reads commentary*

Huh. Okay, well since Susan isn't there, it will have to be Van that makes the suggestion. I wonder if Wizards will continue getting spells of their own, while other magic users will have to be content to learn magic from spellbooks others let them reference? Hmmm...

--------

Side note, I'm not going to be around here much for the next few months; I'm taking 16 credits on top of working full time, and the two core classes (which I need to take so I can declare my major), which should be easy, involve a lot of reading. I'll pop by every now and then to comment on the comic itself (as I am right now), but I'm most likely not going to respond to being quoted unless I have a rare completely free day. :( 

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Well there goes the idea that change or no change are just two ends of a spectrum and the severity can differ based on what the WoM gets from the Seers opinions:

So it is just one or the other, no in betweens here.

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22 minutes ago, Kazzellin said:

Side note, I'm not going to be around here much for the next few months; I'm taking 16 credits on top of working full time, and the two core classes (which I need to take so I can declare my major), which should be easy, involve a lot of reading. I'll pop by every now and then to comment on the comic itself (as I am right now), but I'm most likely not going to respond to being quoted unless I have a rare completely free day. :(

It's okay, Kazzellin. We'll still be here when you have more time. :) Good luck and smooth sailing with your classes!

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Why You Should Watch/ Read Jojos Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

Seriously JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond Is Unbreakable is almost like a manga/anime version of El Goonish Shive.

 The exception being the final villain who would be to much like Damien.

Sorry I will cut to my point.

How about THEORTICALLY having magic give everyone just ONE spell based on their personality but they can be VERY creative in how they use it. For example Elliot would probably be alot like Josuke in his Boy Scout like nature and kindness would probably give him the ability to reconstruct things. (He can't revive the dead) In theory this wouldn't allow alot of combat capabilities, in practice actuality Josuke gets incredibly creative in how he uses it. For example ge once used his ability to shatter concrete then restore it into a wall in front of him to block projectiles.

Threw a shard of glass from a bottle at his opponent, expecting him to catch it. Josuke then reforms the bottle around his foe's hand, severing it. It seems that Josuke can control the place where objects are reformed, as long as part of the object is in that place.

 

While being pursued on a motorcycle, Josuke is about to run into a baby carriage. Instead of swerving, he uses Crazy D to break apart the motorcycle, letting all the parts fly over the carriage without harm. He then reforms the motorcycle and continues driving.

 

you get the idea

 

this seems like the kind of use of powers that with a few tweeks could fit right in with El Goonish Shive.

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Well, here's one argument in favor of a smaller change: The more magic changes, the harder it will be to predict how those changes will work out, which means it will be harder to guess whether the changes will turn out to be a horrible mistake.

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2 hours ago, Scotty said:

Well there goes the idea that change or no change are just two ends of a spectrum and the severity can differ based on what the WoM gets from the Seers opinions:

So it is just one or the other, no in betweens here.

Magic doesn't even detail exactly WHAT said change is. Honestly, that should be setting off all sorts of warning alarms for Arthur Arthur. The Will of Magic is UNPREDICTABLE. The current situation as is can be handled, and HAS been handled, by the DGB. They have enough heavy hitters and agents around the world to keep the situation under control, and if not, then they can bring out nuclear options and start inquisition-style witch-hunts and book burnings to keep the peace. Allow Magic to fundamentally alter ITSELF, and you get the Dinosaur extinction event. Remember, the last major change hasn't occurred in the ENTIRE HISTORY OF MANKIND. The last great species, at least according to fossil record, was dinosaurs. If it WASN'T dinosaurs, that means that the last major change ERASED THEM FROM EXISTENCE ALTOGETHER. That's an XK-class extinction level event.

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1 hour ago, wanderingmagus said:

Magic doesn't even detail exactly WHAT said change is. Honestly, that should be setting off all sorts of warning alarms for Arthur Arthur. The Will of Magic is UNPREDICTABLE. The current situation as is can be handled, and HAS been handled, by the DGB. They have enough heavy hitters and agents around the world to keep the situation under control, and if not, then they can bring out nuclear options and start inquisition-style witch-hunts and book burnings to keep the peace. Allow Magic to fundamentally alter ITSELF, and you get the Dinosaur extinction event. Remember, the last major change hasn't occurred in the ENTIRE HISTORY OF MANKIND. The last great species, at least according to fossil record, was dinosaurs. If it WASN'T dinosaurs, that means that the last major change ERASED THEM FROM EXISTENCE ALTOGETHER. That's an XK-class extinction level event.

The system has changed numerous times in the course of human history, before humans existed though there was likely still Faeries or beings who would eventually becomes Faeries. Did magic ever change for them? My guess is no, and that magic never started changing until Faeries started mixing with Humans and their offspring became able to use magic, then things started becoming out of control. Maybe it was the very first system change that prompted Faeries to limit themselves, maybe another system change made them decide to pass on false info about any children they might have being unable to have kids of their own. Would Faeries do that to help protect the secrecy of magic and prevent changes? OR would forgeting/lying about stuff increase the chances of Immortals like Pandora coming about to throw everything into chaos and cause a system change?

 

And a tweet from Dan:

 

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12 hours ago, wanderingmagus said:

Magic doesn't even detail exactly WHAT said change is. Honestly, that should be setting off all sorts of warning alarms for Arthur Arthur. The Will of Magic is UNPREDICTABLE. The current situation as is can be handled, and HAS been handled, by the DGB. They have enough heavy hitters and agents around the world to keep the situation under control, and if not, then they can bring out nuclear options and start inquisition-style witch-hunts and book burnings to keep the peace. Allow Magic to fundamentally alter ITSELF, and you get the Dinosaur extinction event. Remember, the last major change hasn't occurred in the ENTIRE HISTORY OF MANKIND. The last great species, at least according to fossil record, was dinosaurs. If it WASN'T dinosaurs, that means that the last major change ERASED THEM FROM EXISTENCE ALTOGETHER. That's an XK-class extinction level event.

You do have a point that it ought to be easier for DGB to continue to deal with the situation they're familiar with than to adapt to a whole new system they don't know anything about in advance. However, as for the rest...

According to the Emissary of Magic, how magic works for Humans has changed many times.

Furthermore the last time it changed was in Pandora's previous incarnation. We don't know exactly how old Pandora was, but we do know that she was 150 when she met the human Blaike Raven, in what appears to be the middle ages (at any rate it has to be after the Greek myths came into being, seeing as Pandora named herself after the mythical Pandora). Assuming Pandora's previous incarnation reset at around 200 years old like most immortals do, the last Magic Change couldn't have been more than 350 years prior to Pandora meeting Blaike (and thus well within human history).

So, not quite as extreme an event as you're making it out to be.

Edited by ChronosCat
Added a link.

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6 hours ago, Scotty said:

And a tweet from Dan:

 

Hmm, so what do we know that Arthur doesn't at this point?  Might just be a hint what the next twist or relevant plot point will be....

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Whoops, misread "a cycle which has persisted since the dawn of man" as referring to a single time period between major changes, rather than the entire sinusoidal rise-fall pattern of major change. Disregard that, then.

But maybe this is a sign that it's time to break the wheel and end the cycle. Human history is filled with mistakes of the past. What is to say that the endless cycle of the rise and fall of civilization is not another mistake to be rectified? As we gradually unite all of humanity in what is as far as we know the first global community of interconnected thought through the internet, as we settle more and more misunderstandings through diplomacy rather than violence, as the plagues of the past are finally eradicated and we reach for the very stars we once worshiped, as our technology gradually surpasses even the mightiest of magics in power and lethality, perhaps it is time to recognize that the ancient and time-honored ways of dealing with magic are outdated, and it's time to move on.

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3 hours ago, CritterKeeper said:

Hmm, so what do we know that Arthur doesn't at this point?  Might just be a hint what the next twist or relevant plot point will be....

We know that they are descended from Immortals. This may or may not be relevant.

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2 minutes ago, The Old Hack said:

We know that they are descended from Immortals. This may or may not be relevant.

I don't think it's that. Admittedly, I'm having trouble coming up with what else we know that they don't.

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