Roleplaying, was RE: I'm back!

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
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...

Philip.







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