Roleplaying, was RE: I'm back!

Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Thu Aug 22 03:55:25 EDT 2002

>>  There was no
>> explanation of how magic was supposed to work - we
>> guessed "Vancian magic" and were right.
> Ah? I'm probably showing huge gaps in my knowledge of fantasy basics, but im
> curious... What's that?

I was wondering that.  I'll take a guess (and try to get it in before someone
posts the right answer).

I think it means the system Jack Vance used in a long series of books ostensibly
set in the very distant future.  I've read a couple of these books, and don't
like them very much, but Vance actually explains the system in "Rhialto the
Marvelous".  This is an attempted reconstruction, not a quotation, of the
passage concerned:

| Magic spells consist of coded messages inserted into the sensoria of
| beings able and not unwilling to manipulate the material world.
| Since these beings are alien to us, and may not even be sentient [1]
| by our standards, magic holds considerable dangers for the tyro
| practitioner.

[1] I'm pretty sure Vance used the term Sentient, but he doesn't seem to mean
the same by it that I do - to me a being that can receive and respond to a coded
message is sentient.  Presumably he means intelligent/rational/thinking...

Is this what you meant?  Do tell...


This message and any attachments are confidential and should only be
read by those to whom they are addressed.  If you are not the intended
recipient, please contact us, delete the message from your computer
and destroy any copies.  Any distribution or copying without our prior
permission is prohibited.

Internet communications are not always secure and therefore the
Powergen Group does not accept legal responsibility for this message.
The recipient is responsible for verifying its authenticity before
acting on the contents.  Any views or opinions presented are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the 
Powergen Group.

Power Technology:
Telephone	+44 (0) 115 936 2000
Fax		+44 (0) 115 936 2711
E-mail          techinfo at

Powergen UK plc Registered Office: City Point 1, Ropemaker Street , London EC2Y 9HT
Registered in England and Wales No: 2366970
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list