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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:37 am 
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I have been amusing myself recently by devising a 'history' of Legend.
(It also helps that one of my longest-running games was set in a 5th-6th Century version of Legend, so I had to think of it...)

I find that a 'history' is not really essential to a basic DW game, but it does add depth and colour to the setting when NPCs can mention past events. Or even PCs can start to wonder why certain things happened.

Take magic, for instance. There are several mentions in posts and blogs that magic used to be more powerful (that there are secrets to be found in the tombs and pyramids of Kaikuhuru, for example). So why was this knowledge lost? What caused the spells to be forgotten?

A riot may have caused the accidental burning of the Great Library of Siout (with the loss of 200,000 tomes)? There could have been several local pogroms against Sorcerers (someone has to take the blame for disasters)?* Did the Blasting of Spyte have greater repercussions (was that once a repository of knowledge - now lost)? Maybe a movement - similar to Iconoclasm in the real world - sweep the dying Empire and cause magical libraries to be scattered or destroyed?** Did the sudden rise of Ta'ashim in the 6th and 7th Centuries result in the deaths of many Sorcerers and the loss of their libraries (as 'unclean' texts)? &c...
* No doubt only the fairly low-ranking sorcerers would have been caught? Enough to lose a body of knowledge, though.
** Perhaps in the 6th or 7th Century?


Does anyone else have any ideas why the magic was 'lost'?

I was also considering the True Faith (again, a major force in Legend). Where were the main sees of the emerging Faith, their original churches? Five places stand out: Crescentium, Siout* and Selentium. To this would be added in the next few Centuries (by, say 3rd or 4th Centuries) the sees of Ibrahim and Tamor. While Ibrahim might be the birthplace of the Saviour, it might also have had an existent Temple which resisted the Faith - hence a later inclusion.** When Ta'ashim swept through the southern lands, Siout, Ibrahim and Crescentium would all be lost, leaving only Selentium and Tamor (both on the verge of schism) to keep the Faith. Crescentium and Ibrahim would be recovered, but their original prestige and importance lost...
* Now Amsa'im.
** Or Ibrahim was damaged by the Selentines and the original church expelled - depending on how close to the 'real world' you like your history...


Then there's the background culture of a place. I can see that the southern lands (from Emphidor down to present Opalar) would have a strong Emphidian culture (as referenced in DW book 6, page 43; "the troops of decadent and decaying Kaikuhuru had already fallen before the might of Emphidor"), while the lands East and North (up to Ellesland) would have a more Selentine base.* Not a major issue from a role-playing point of view, but might indicate what language would be found in ancient tombs, ruins, or old scrolls that have survived the ages.
* Just how much Emphidian influence one might find in Tamor is up to the GM...

Ancient Emphidian philosophy might be an important basis of thought and behaviour for Mystic characters. It's far too 'easy' to adopt oriental models (which really don't fit too well in western Legend) when there are plenty of other schools to choose from. Our real world provides us with Stoicism, Cosmopolitanism, Sophism, Timonism, Cynicism,* Asceticism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, &c. Personally, just as weapons don't get renamed, so I don't rename general philosophical models - but schools named after their founder (e.g. Plato, Pythagoras) can be altered and renamed. And it can be fun to come up with a few of your own.
* Not to be confused with the current definition!

Just a few random thoughts...


Last edited by Starkad on Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:50 am 
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No one invented printing. Libraries seem to have an uncanny tendency to burn, especially after war. A lack of knowledge sharing and the limitations of academic institutions. I think the same applies to some mythical martial arts techniques.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Libraries seem to have an uncanny tendency to burn, especially after war.

Not as often as you'd think, but yes - libraries are vulnerable to fire. Not just wars either, there are riots and accidents... Consider that the source of illumination is likely to be candles, torches or oil lamps.

I wonder how many magical texts would have been in large libraries (as opposed to private collections)? I also wonder if ancient magic would have been written on papyrus or, perhaps, clay tablets?*
* Or, if you're a fan of Asterix the Gaul, carved on marble tablets.

Vellum is also a very resistant material (and doesn't burn easily). The main danger to vellum texts is the expense - which means that often the vellum was scraped to remove old text before writing on new. This could easily have happened to some ancient texts.

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A lack of knowledge sharing...

A slow decaying of the knowledge base? Knowledge is not passed on and dies with the older sages? That's one possibility. Add in a series of wars/disasters and it might be easy to see how important knowledge is lost.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:47 pm 
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You could just view it as the natural rise and fall of empires - The Kiakuhuran Empire, The Emphidian Empire, The Krarthian Empire, The Selentium Empire etc. each developing a wealth of knowledge and then losing much in the subsequent downfall.

Dragon warriors seems to take place in the tail end of a dark age, hence the mystery of 'lost' knowledge. No doubt over time all the old knowledge will come to be known again, assuming there was no great cataclysm to set civilization back once again.

"Dragon Warriors: Renaissance" anyone? :)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:43 pm 
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"Dragon Warriors: Renaissance" anyone?

Heh. Why not?
The Age of Enlightenment, here we come...

(Very old map attached.)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:21 pm 
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wimlach wrote:
No doubt over time all the old knowledge will come to be known again, assuming there was no great cataclysm to set civilization back once again.

I find that an interesting assumption. Given that it is impossible to know what you do not know you do not know, which could easily include the things that were known but are now not known or known about, there is no way to determine whether it is likely that lost knowledge will ever be rediscovered. What if, a thousand years ago, a whole other branch of science, mathematics, or magic flourished but was lost (through gradual decay or a single cataclysmic event)? We might have confidence that we will rediscover that which we know we do not know, but not that which we do not know we do not know. Perhaps, once magic is gone, it is forever gone, and that is just one of the quirks of how magic works (which doesn't mean to say that new magic cannot be discovered, but only that once the last memory of a magical formula is gone - be that in the living mind of a magicker or encoded in an ancient script - it is forever gone). It is magic, after all.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:00 pm 
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In my game, magic is moribund in a similar way to how medicine was pretty much moribund in Europe during the Dark and Middle Ages. There's very little new research going on - sorcerors simply teach the same techniques that were taught one thousand years ago, just as in our own world, a lot of medicine was based on the works of Galen (as an example) for an awfully long time.

There are some innovators - but they tend to keep to themselves and very few listen to them anyway.

At least in the lands north of the Coradian Sea.

My version of Legend is on the verge of a kind of renaissance in that I do have in mind, that all this is going to start changing soon - but by soon I mean in at least a couple of decades. People like Mistress Marta are the early part of this - she has a little school, but her ambition if she could manage it would be to create a large Academy of Magic. But even she still only teachers the same canon of spells she was taught by her Mistress who was taught them by her Mistress who was taught them by her Master (I actually know who all these people were - I take the history in my games seriously). In Ongus, I also have people who are coming close to printing to disseminate knowledge (although not moveable type - every plate needs to be carefully carved by hand) and scriptoriums that produce some books by simple, unadorned handwriting on something approaching a mass scale.

And then there are the Guilds - where some of the 'trade secrets' that are taught to future Masters are actually simple trade specific spells (although they are virtually never described as such). Some of these are very old - one, for example, allows a Jeweller who knows it to immediately identify a fake, or to tell similar gemstones apart, but this is also an area where there is some innovation.

In terms of things like curing disease, I also have the Order of Saint Ashanax which is a group of Nuns (actually they are Oblates, but let's not get into that technicality here) which have a surprisingly modern understanding of some aspects of medicine - including what we could call germ theory (they are not sure exactly how it works, but they absolutely understand that cleanliness and sanitation cuts the risk of infections and diseases - one of their recent innovations in Ongus is to establish some river baths so the poor can get clean). Their medical treatments rely primarily on herb lore (I like herbs a lot in my games) some of which is very good, some of which is still based on superstition, but they are also heading towards basic surgery. They do not use magic - yet...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:44 am 
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I figure theres a lot of ancient martial arts techniques waiting to be discovered by those 10-12th rank masters, stuff that you can read in palladiums ninjas and superspies such as kiaijutsu, the art of shouting to stun and kill, as well as the legendary dim mak or death touch. Again, known by humans who are too guarded to openly share such knowledge. Course' we need to work on the dragwars oriental adventures to get that stuff going.

Course there would be stories passed on down the generations and even rumours of people killing by spoken words who might be just regarded as warlocks or sorcerors....

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:00 pm 
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Quote:
In my game, magic is moribund in a similar way to how medicine was pretty much moribund in Europe during the Dark and Middle Ages. There's very little new research going on - sorcerors simply teach the same techniques that were taught one thousand years ago, just as in our own world, a lot of medicine was based on the works of Galen (as an example) for an awfully long time.

Very similar to the way I've seen it. Magic has been steadily declining in my version of Legend. The magicians in the 6th Century game had access to powers and abilities that they don't have in the 10th Century game.

The difference is that I don't think magic will make a big comeback.* There may be discoveries here and there, but a few centuries will see the Age of Reason beginning to flourish as Guilds start to trade knowledge, the advent of printing increases the transmission of this knowledge and general advances are made...
* Although I haven't really thought this through, so I might change my mind.

I suspect religious upsets would not be beneficial to any magic revival either. The Wars of Religion could turn very nasty with a magical aspect thrown in.

Quote:
Course' we need to work on the dragwars oriental adventures to get that stuff going.

Yes. I think oriental martial arts are best kept for the lands of Khitai and distant Yamato... (maybe some in Batubatan and Minj.)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:01 am 
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Five places stand out: Crescentium, Siout* and Selentium.


https://youtu.be/xOrgLj9lOwk?t=128

Cobwebbed Dragon wrote:
wimlach wrote:
No doubt over time all the old knowledge will come to be known again, assuming there was no great cataclysm to set civilization back once again.

I find that an interesting assumption. Given that it is impossible to know what you do not know you do not know, which could easily include the things that were known but are now not known or known about, there is no way to determine whether it is likely that lost knowledge will ever be rediscovered.


I think a lot of this hangs on whether magic is basically scientific (in the sense of being amenable to discovery via the scientific method) or not. If it is, and if Legend does go through a renaissance and age of enlightenment, there's no reason to think all the secret's won't be revealed once again sooner or later. On the other hand, maybe magic is not just another force of nature and will never be available for rediscovery because the events leading to it were unique and won't be repeated. Like a one-off revelation from a supernatural being.

Cheers,

-Kyle


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