Coded green.

Freeeday 24 August 2001

Reading GURPS Magic

Pic of the day: Yay! Finally got the two GURPS handbooks I ordered from earlier this summer. Magic and Psionics. (Grimoire was no longer available.) There was even a small note explaining the delay. A perfect start for a vacation, don't you think?

Vacation! Magic! Vacation!

Yes indeed! I am not going to go to work for 3 weeks! *Tweet!* *Chirp!* How cool is that? Soooo cool! Play all night, sleep all day! Read GURPS Magic! Have fun! Perhaps take a short trip east or west or both of the above. Take photos. Read comics. Make comics. Eat too much. Get sick. Promise never to eat too much again. Go to restaurant. Eat too much. Get sick. OK, perhaps not quite like that. Probably it will be 3 weeks of playing The Sims and munching marshmallows. Still, I've been pretty joyful today. Yes indeed.

And I've definitely been feeling better than yesterday. I woke up and both body and soul had healed quite a bit. Do not underestimate the healing power of natural sleep. I'm not even particularly horny anymore. A little bit ashamed, of course, but that's good for me.


The GURPS magic system is not exactly realistic, in the way that occultists believe magic works. Somewhat, but not all that much. It is designed for playability. And it is quite good at that: Eminently scalable. As a mage learns a spell very well, the casting cost goes down. Add with the use of "powerstones", mages will eventually be able to cast spells far more powerful than their personal stamina would allow. But these cost money, or takes a lot of time and skill to make. So GURPS mages will probably not be very useful from the start, but gradually grow as they increase both their skills and their storage of powerstones.

It still looks kind of cheesy, though. I think I still prefer my own Grand Unified Theory of magic for fantasy worlds. In this, magic is a "meta-energy" that brings an element of creative chaos into a more ordered world.

In this thinking, life and magic are twins, living on the thin border between order and chaos. Too much order, and the miracle of life becomes too improbable to have happened. Too much chaos, and causality breaks down, and life cannot exist. Intelligent life needs a high degree of order, as it depends on recognizing and exploiting the laws of nature. In this setting, a little chaos can bend the laws.

In this scenario, the mage "pays" for magic by offering order. Spells, rituals, prayers, spellsongs, runes ... all the various activation methods consist of composing a packet of order, which is then sacrificed in exchange for a selective chaos. Even the genetic code in a sacrificed animal may be viewed as a "packet of order", which is "sent away" in exchange for a "packet of chaos" that can be used to bend the rules. Thus, a Grand Unified Theory, because it covers so many different types of magic and even religions.

Not that I believe any of this in the least, of course. It is all fun and games. Harmless vacation fun.

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