» Comics - If All Else Fails… #21 - April 20th, 2016, 2:12 am

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It's not that *other* Enchanters don't draw the line, it's that Ally, Sheila & Reece are a lot more careful about *where* they draw the line.

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Cubist, April 20th, 2016, 2:19 am ( Reply )

The Limits of Omnipotence - Since omnipotence means having the capability to do any-bleedin'-thing, it follows that omnipotence is limited only by the moral/ethical strictures of the omnipotent being in question. Good thing Our Heroines abide by a decent set of moral/ethical strictures, huh? And yes, Enchanters' longevity does have an effect on their point of view.

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I'm just surprised that Enchanters don't have a revolution every few centuries, I mean given how the main cast has complained about the current ruling body I got the impression that such feelings are present in a sizable portion of the Enchanter populace back where they come from.

posted by dracone on April 20th, 2016, 5:24 am

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@dracone: Think of the Enchanter society as a hedonistic Roman society where EVERYONE is the aristocracy (not so hard to do, since we literally present it that way). It's hard to get the masses angry for revolt when almost all their needs are satisfied.

We've seen the exceptions to the society. Mostly young folk, so it's still to be seen whether their calls for reform will remain as they get older, or if it's just youthful zeal.

posted by DarkwingDork on April 20th, 2016, 7:38 am

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Honestly, I never would have thought you'd actually make them omnipotent. I'd have expected her reaction to be "We're mages, not gods."
But a decent demonstration of the "God dilemma," I guess.

posted by Marshal Banana (Guest) on April 20th, 2016, 10:05 am

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@Marshal Banana: They're not really omnipotent, they're being semi facetious. If they were, they'd never get caught in an enemy's trap, and we've seen that happen a few times.

Enchanters just have look at issues with a long view to history.

posted by DarkwingDork on April 20th, 2016, 10:20 am

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With great power comes great responsibility.

posted by Danica (Guest) on April 20th, 2016, 10:34 am

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@Danica: I'm more a believer in "With great power comes great boredom, followed by great insanity. Followed by death."
I'm a bit of a pessimist.

posted by Marshal Banana (Guest) on April 20th, 2016, 12:02 pm

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@dracone: I get the feeling that Enchanter society/government has a whole lot of Might Makes Right goin' on. Enchanters accumulate more and more power as time passes, so the oldest Enchanters would be the most powerful ones of all. And who's in charge? Well, their title--"Elders"--should be a clue...

And in addition to what Darkwing noted re: all needs being satisfied, note that Enchanter society is one whose Powers That Be can literally turn anybody into a grease spot without the victim being able to do anything about it. I'm thinking this is a pretty strong disincentive for revolt.

It's true that Our Heroines are not at all happy with the Elders--but it's also true that their views are very different from the typical "Enchanter in the street". Calpurnia is much more representative of Enchanter society than Ally & Co. are.

@Marshal Banana: Will's the one who introduced the "O"-word; Sheila just followed his lead. She, at least, knows very well that Enchanters aren't actually omnipotent, because omnipotence doesn't need to worry about consequences! A bunch of desert-adapted plants died off from too much rain? zap Nuh-uh!

posted by Cubist on April 20th, 2016, 6:12 pm

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I think Will is also mulling around in his head what I'm thinking about.

"I'm going to get old. She's going to stay the same. WHen I die, she'll remarry..."

There's a kind of magic in the impermanence of life, too. Especially what you *do* with said life.

posted by tazel on April 20th, 2016, 10:10 pm

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@tazel: Honestly, I think it'll be harder on her than on him. He'll have her all his life. She'll only have him for what, to her span of time, is the equivalent of a pet goldfish, but he'll mean as much to her as she does to him.
Still, you're right about the impermanence of life. I'll quote Lorien from Babylon 5: "Only beings who's existence is finite are capable of believing that love can endure forever. Embrace that wonderful illusion. It is the greatest gift the universe ever gave you."

@Cubist: So, here's a question: if the Enchanters keep getting more powerful over time and they live forever, does that mean they will eventually reach a point where their power can no longer be contained in physical bodies? I mean, there's always a limit to how much physical power can be contained in such a finite amount of space. It's known that energy has its own gravity (a taught spring will be more heavy than a loose one, even if only the most sensitive machines will be able to detect the difference), so if enchanters become too powerful and still keep a physical body, they should, in theory, become black holes because the power is concentrated to strongly in too finite an area.
Or does magic defy physics on a micro level as well as a macro level?

posted by Marshal Banana (Guest) on April 21st, 2016, 11:39 am

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@Marshal Banana: I think she's been living long enough to be able to deal with the pain. She had to have other mortal friends, if not lovers that have not been brought up, during her extended lifetime. Repeated exposure tends to dull the pain.

I believe it to be much more damaging to the fragile mortal psyche. The hamster who wakes up one day and realizes life is more than just a water bottle, pellets and a wheel, yet is powerless to do anything to act outside of that existence, would be very frustrated and depressed, despite a benevolent higher power (the owner)

posted by tazel on April 21st, 2016, 2:05 pm

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@Marshal Banana: Enchanters have magical power, and in AAL, magic is pretty much plot-driven. So as far as the webcomic is concerned, physics (whether micro or macro) don't enter into it!

I've been working on an AAL roleplaying game (googledoc can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IfSlkKAjkw6HsuNaRiSer0bhd-sKOhIqShtjpIzaL1s/edit?usp=s haring ), and the RPG has this to say about magic:

"As far as the rolegame is concerned, 'magic' refers to the ability to coerce Reality into a configuration of your choosing by sheer force of will. As such, magic has no intrinsic limits--in a very real sense, magic is 'all in your head', so there is literally nothing whatsoever which cannot be done with magic. But! Not all magical feats are equally easy to perform..."

In a strict technical sense, therefore, all magic-users in the AAL rolegame are equally powerful; what makes one mage-type 'stronger' than another is not that Joe Archmage has powers that Fred Novitiate lacks, but, rather, that Joe Archmage knows what he's doing and Fred Novitiate doesn't.

Whether or not any of the above applies to the webcomic is a matter for Darkwing to decide, of course.

posted by Cubist on April 21st, 2016, 4:27 pm

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@Cubist: Looking for any playtesters on that? *flexes her dice rolling hands* :)

posted by tazel on April 21st, 2016, 4:40 pm

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@tazel: I'd love playtesters! So far it's just been me puttering around by myself, and I know full well that other people are likely to find flaws that have escaped my notice. So please take the rolegame out for a spin with your gaming group--and once you've done that, please leave comments on the googledoc to let me know what bits you liked, what bits need work, etc etc!

posted by Cubist on April 21st, 2016, 4:46 pm

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@Cubist: My gaming group is not of the 'fur' variety, so it wouldn't work well with them. I was thinking a Skype get together with other like-minded folks to run the character generation through its paces, and a skill/ability testing session. If you decide to do so, give me a poke. I'll be more than happy to help test.

posted by tazel on April 21st, 2016, 4:52 pm

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@Cubist: I had a RP buddy who'd love the setting, but he moved away and we don't have the chance to play anymore. :C
Still, I do a lot of DM stuff on my own, I could take a look at it.

posted by Marshal Banana (Guest) on April 21st, 2016, 5:15 pm

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@tazel: Then lets roll! *holds some dice* I'm on Skype too. We should get together with a few others to test the system. And break it. XD

posted by Dimensional on April 21st, 2016, 6:19 pm

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"What sucks is caring about who gets hurt."

I'm reminded of a line in an old Chinese poem:

"If Heaven had feelings, Heaven would grow old." 7@=e

posted by Lucius Appaloosius (Guest) on April 21st, 2016, 9:07 pm

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kinda thinking of Rory Mercury from Gate right now, from what Tazel said earlier.

she's a Demigoddess who works for the god of death, darkness, war, etc.

interestingly enough, however, she massively respects those who choose to live full lives and have conviction as to why they risk their lives, too..... which is also probably why she has no problem turning bandits into neat little chunks.

posted by Pendrake (Guest) on April 22nd, 2016, 2:34 pm

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@tazel: Sign me up, too!

posted by The_Rippy_One (Guest) on April 23rd, 2016, 12:17 am

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@Pendrake: Though, the gods are pretty dang crazy in Gate.

And Rory as a Goddess is going to be pure nuts. especially with her chosen portfolio...

posted by The_Rippy_One (Guest) on April 23rd, 2016, 12:20 am

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In case you guys are curious, Cubist has a thread in our forum discussing the RPG:


posted by DarkwingDork on April 23rd, 2016, 9:32 am

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