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Spells, Magick and RPGames

To: alt.magick.tyagi
From: tyagI@houseofkaos.Abyss.coM (tyagi mordred nagasiva)
Subject: Spells, Magick and RPGames (Was Re: Games)
Date: Kali Yuga 49941006 

Quoting: | (Gregory L Hansen) 

|Is anyone on this group familiar with role-playing games?  

I suspect most mages are familiar with them.

|I need help designing a magic system for role-playing games that follows 
|contemporary occultic thought.  

There are a few that are worth a look already, from what I understand,
including the system in Paul Hume's book for Shadowrun, _The Grimoire_, 
and that within the Ars Magica RPG.  I've not yet procured 'Mage', but 
will have to based upon recommendations.

|The problem I've always had is when I try to fit the system t, it becomes 
|very vague and hard to quantify.  

Sounds like you just need more study of that which you are attempting to
translate to RPG.

|There is no moderation besides "game-master's discretion", 

Similar to how psi was treated in AD&D and otherwise.  Compare with 'wishes'
and 'spell-creation'.  These are places where the boundaries between Player
and Game Master begin to blurr (wonderfully so!).

|and no abstract game-mechanics for use by players not familiar with some 
|specific magical system.

In some ways this is what I'm attempting to derive within discussions on
the philosophy of magick in alt.magick (completed a model on magick's

relation to science and I'm still brainstorming the relation to art).

The problem is that there aren't very many good philosophers of magick
who've written their ideas down.  Crowley was good, though overly
complicated for one who merely wants to translate from nongame to game.
You might take a look at Bonewits' _Real Magic_, which has an entire
cosmology of magical energy, including his principles and colors.  I
thought it was a good first attempt following on Frazer and others.

|I'd also like some specifics, like what can be done and what can't, 

Ha!  You'll get lots of argument on this one.  The minimum of course
is that it is all a sham and designed to fleece newbies.  Have a look
at the history of magick (so-called) sometime, including the shysters
like Cagliostro and (perhaps) Blavatsky.  While these folks may well
have been mages, they had a penchant for deception which calls into 
question their abilities to manifest.

The maximum is told in religious tales quite well: Moses parting the
waters of the Red Sea, Jesus turning water into wine, etc.  These days
there are perhaps less powerful mages about (or maybe the power is 
finite and more spread out).

|how difficult it is, 

That would depend on what is being attempted and how long one has taken
in learning the art.  At first even minor effects come at a very slow
and inconsistent rate.  Later, things appear to work of their own, and
the Master moves within a perpetual field of magick.

|how much time it takes to cast, 

Again, this varies depending upon the working and artist.  Beginners
attempting difficult spells will never succeed.  Even with simple works
the beginner must struggle to focus the will and so the work takes a
greater amount of time, not to mention that she may need particular
circumstances, such as tools and magic-space, etc.  As one becomes
adept, cantrips may be performed with but a thought.  The Master moves
beyond the concept of 'casting' or 'not-casting', for hir entire life
is imbued of the Great Work.

|how much time it takes a spell to work, etc., 

Same as above.  Beginners attempting simple spells may never find that
the spell yields.  HOWEVER, it may 'work' in that their will is becoming
honed to a sharper focus.  That is, though the working may not yield the
desired outcome, there is a personal result which should not be overlooked
(some say this is the only result which takes place).  

The particular situation plays a large part in determining when the spell
shall manifest.  It may be that what Crowley called the 'Magical Link'
is either not present or not in sufficient proximity to the work that it
will be usable by the mage.  Therefore a quite powerful spell may take
several PREPARATORY workings in order to 'fix' the composition.  A mage
may work for 20 years on the foundation and in one night the spell may
be cast.  Look into alchemy for their models of timing and configuration
(of the astrological planets, for example).  Some authors of fiction also
have decent systems worked out (see Peggy's list, of which I think that
_A Wizard of Earthsea_/LeGuin and _Master of Five Magics_/Hardy are my

The Master's work is never done, of course. :>

tyagi nagasiva

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