Fantasy authors have come up with a whole lot of different ways to treat magic in their stories. Sometimes it's an ad hoc Disney-esque "bippity-boppity-boo" deal in which magic does pretty much whatever the author wants it to, in accordance with the needs of the plot; sometimes it's something the author has given some thought to, so that magic is internally consistent and works by discoverable rules; sometimes yada yada yada. So... how are you guys tryna handle magic in At Arm’s Length? Are we talking more like the Lord Darcy stories, or more like the Oz books, or some other approach?
Post by darkwingdork on Aug 25, 2008 13:10:27 GMT -5
A very good question, Cubist.
In part, I have placed realistic limitations on Ally, Sheila and Reece's powers. They are relatively young by their race's standards, so they haven't grown into all their powers yet. And the elder members of their species that ARE powerful have sort of a Greek mythological God view of mortals. (ie, Yeah, we can easily help them if we wanted to, but why should we bother?)
One example, as you can tell from strips #3 and #6, is that the girls have the ability to teleport. Now, naturally this presents the problem for action scenes as it begs the question of why they don't just keep disappearing and reappearing during a fight like Nightcrawler from "X-Men." Essentially, all they would have to do is keep dodging attacks and just wait for their opponents to tire.
So in order to avoid that easy cop-out for fights, I've made it so it takes a few seconds for them to "charge up" enough energy to teleport (this has yet to be mentioned within the comic). Which basically means that if they did try to teleport during a fight, they would have to stand still for about five seconds and concentrate on where they would need to appear next. And as you can guess, during something as fast-paced as a conflict, standing still for an inordinate amount of time is not advisable. While preparing to teleport, they could be subject to all sorts of physical or magical attacks, which isn't very recommended.
I picture the girls having very limited transformation powers (hence the ability to make their extra arms appear at will), and they can harness energy into explosive power balls. They can also cast certain spells if they have the appropriate ingredients, but they would need to acquire these and can not just make them poof into existence.
Beyond that, I'm open to other suggestions for what they can do.
I LOVED XENA wait how did they get into trouble? anyways I figured since they have the extra arms, they should have some awesome sheeva like dance powers Maybe. you know how I love to suggest :3
The producers got in trouble for the episode "The Way," where Xena is transformed by Krishna into Kali (the four-armed blue death goddess). Apparently Hindu protest groups World Vaishnava Association and American Hindus Against Defamation took exception to the episode because:
1. It suggested the Hindu gods were fictional (because they were in a show with other fictional gods)
and 2. The suggestion that Xena and Gabrielle are lesbians, a sexuality that Hindis hates far more than Christians do. In other words, if Kali WAS to use a human body as an avatar, it wouldn't be a filthy barbarian lesbo like Xena.
But I am so in favor of having the girls do an Arabian dance. Dance of the veils, anyone?
Our Heroines should be portrayed as less powerful, but more versatile, than the Things they go up against. Specialist versus generalist. That way, the badguys can be real impressive at what they do (which is always nice for an antagonist), and Our Heroines can be in real danger when facing them. Having more options doesn't make for victory in and of itself, of course; you have to be smart enough to use your options wisely. So Our Heroines will have to earn their victories, which is a Good Thing.
Each girl should have their own particular area of expertise. For example: The 'roo strikes me as more of a combat monster than the others, so maybe she finds it easier to cast combat-type spells than the others -- fireball, forcefield, lightning bolt, yada yada yada. The bunny? As a stage magician-y type, she could have an affinity for performance-type spells: Illusions, ventriloquism, apportation, concealment, etc. As for the foxy lady, I dunno -- I don't have a good 'take' on her yet.
Name: Temujin the Dominator Magic Class: Shaman Magic: elemental Extra body parts: Up to you, but knowing Dawkwing, I'll end up with three snuggly tails Signature move: The spreading eagle donkey punch of of doom...or you know something elemental and PG
But in all seriousness, when dealing with magic things have a nasty habit of becoming Harry Potter book 7 with all powerful crap that can only be beat by some random plot device that our heroes just HAPPEN to have already. I'm with Cubist, try and put a slant on things, really make the girls work for things. Happy accidents are fun but when plot bunnies are allowed to breed unchecked...things can get all messy and such.
Judging by Darkwing's reply to the original post in this thread, it looks like AAL magic basically fits the "whatever the plot needs" pattern of most fantasy stories. This works, to be sure... but I gotta second Temujin's concerns regarding the possible consequences when "plot bunnies are allowed to breed unchecked". So let me offer up a suggestion for how to restrict the reproduction of said plot bunnies:
Basic premise #1: MAGIC BURNS ENERGY. Exactly what kind of energy, I dunno -- but something. Basic premise #2: THIS ENERGY COMES FROM SOMEWHERE. That is to say, when you cast a spell, the energy that's burned in the process doesn't just 'poof' into existence from nowhere; rather, it has a source. Maybe the spell feeds off of whatever energy can be supplied by the mage's body; maybe the mage opens up a gateway to a sort of transdimensional Eveready battery, an Other Realm chock-full of energy, and the spell feeds off of that; maybe something else entirely. Whatever the energy-source for magic is, it will affect the operational characteristics of magic... Basic premise #3: BIGGER MAGIC BURNS MORE ENERGY. This should be obvious, I think... but there are some details which should be considered. For instance, what's the relationship between "size of effect" and "energy burned"? As a simple example, let's say that Fireball A produces X amount of effect, and Fireball B produces 3*X amount of effect. Does Fireball B burn 3 times as much energy as Fireball A (i.e., a linear relationship), or (3^2 =) 9 times as much energy (i.e., a geometrical relationship), or (3^3 =) 27 times as much energy (i.e., an exponential relationship), or what? Basic premise #4: BURNED ENERGY MUST BE REPLENISHED. The details here depend, in large part, on what the source of the energy is. If you're burning your own body's energy, you replenish it by eating and resting, just like you would any other expenditure of bodily energy; if you're leeching off of an Eveready Dimension™, replenishment is pretty much automatic and unstoppable; and so on.
If you're familiar with the Hero System roleplaying rules, you might want to consider using them to stat out the girls' powers?
Post by darkwingdork on Dec 18, 2008 11:26:20 GMT -5
I never intended to make it seem like the girls have unlimited powers. So far, they've been mostly defeating their enemies through simply outfighting them physically.
As for where their power originates, it would most likely be easiest to describe the Enchanters as being living, magical batteries. They can replenish energy over time, but there are limits on what they can and can't do, though some activities use such little energy that they hardly have any effect on their "charge."
As for the source of this magic, it has a latent presence on the Earth, but only magical users can detect and use it. And like any form of energy, it can't be created or destroyed, simply transferred from one form to another.
The Enchanters bodies will naturally recharge over time. As long as they haven't used any major spells, they should be able replenish their lost energy in less than a day one day. This is one of the reasons the girls are such physical fighters: (1) to avoid having to use up their magical powers if unnecessary, and (2) to be able to defend themselves if, for any reason, they lose their powers.
Post by darkwingdork on Aug 26, 2009 19:30:44 GMT -5
I suppose one thing this current arc has proven is that the magic the girls utilize for their spells is open for anything who is capable of using magic to manipulate. Seeing as how Ceryn was able to undo Reece's spell for hiding her arms, and now it seems something is causing the girls to keep changing themselves....
Of course, if you don't know how to do/undo a spell, you'll have to find someone who can. But there doesn't seem to be any of that "Bewitched" rules where only the witch who cast the spell can uncast it.