Hello, readers! It’s Day Twenty-Four of Loremageddon, and I barely slept for reasons which I admit I’m not fully clear on. This is just one of the many reasons I made sure to have today’s topics marked out in advance last night, hm? Now then, today we’re going through some examples of arcane communication in the Twin Spirals, what it means to change from one mode of life to another, and lastly, the odd movement known as Tangentialist Philosophy. So, let’s begin!
Snippet #1: Arcane Communications (Worlds: Any)
Arcane communications are, as anyone would expect once attaining a cursory understanding of magic in the Twin Spirals, finicky business. There’s the methodology to consider, firstly, and already mages in most pre-modern cultures encounter stumbling blocks because they often don’t know that energy patterns such as radio waves exist. The idea that something could travel such long range likely won’t occur to many of them, and without the science behind it, casting the spells to imitate it will be functionally impossible.
Then there’s the question of current. The places where one would most want such a device–the depths of a rundown mausoleum or the igneous tunnels leading into a volcano shrine, for example–have often been abandoned so long that they’re current-bereft. The devices either need an ample charge before venturing in, leaving the possibility that it runs out, or a mage must use more of their own mental energy and stored reserves to modulate the activation of those enchantments.
Environmental variables can cause any fine-tuned enchantment to malfunction or function worse just as with any other mode of transmission. Adventurers on Creation’s Fringe, for example, where the current is abnormally common, try to rely on silver-glass amulets to communicate at distance. However, because they transmit full sound or even sound and visuals, these amulets are easily overloaded. Even when not directly targeted by it, powerful spellcraft interferes with their transmissions.
The Fringe exemplifies another problem: magic-empowered communications often pick up “signals” in the form of visuals and sounds from sources they’re not intended to contact. The causes for these phenomena aren’t well understood, but ghosts, demons, and even eldritch entities all leave their marks. While generally these include only faint apparitions or bursts of junk-sound laced into the transmitted speech, on Creation’s Fringe they can escalate to full-scale inclusion: a malicious entity pulled into an idle conversation that takes place at long enough distance.
Thus, as with most other areas of magic, the question becomes: is the reward worth the risk?
Snippet #2: Changing Life-States (Worlds: Any)
Be it a human woman who decides she’d rather be a demon, a sapient machine yearning to become flesh, or a forlorn ghost which manages to draw enough praise and attention to become a god, the interwoven energies of the Twin Spirals universe give rise to many different “life-states”–a stilted term, perhaps, but good enough to work from. Most sapient beings inherently become comfortable with the state they’re born into, and prefer not to leave it unless they have no other choice.
On Canno, the ilbaret invoker Netorn coined the term “spiritual inertia” to describe this phenomenon. She theorized that as experience clearly had some role in shaping the soul, it followed that the longer someone spent existing in the same mode, the harder it became for them to break free from it. While it possessed some promise, many scholars during the Age of Splendors found it worrisome; they felt it might be taken to excuse people who refused to address their own flaws.
Netorn, a staunch follower of the Shauld culture’s Functionalist philosophy, once shrugged and said, “Self-improvement does hurt. The only ones who don’t know that are those who never try it.”
It follows from this that sapient beings most easily transition from one form of life to another–assuming that they have the power and knowledge to do so otherwise–during times of extreme personal upheaval. Mortals with a score to settle or a purpose left undone are far more likely to become lingering spirits–intuitive enough! However, those who have been abandoned by their friends or who have lived futile lives may well realize upon their deaths that they wish a similar second chance.
The latter category are more likely to become some other class of entity. Because of their close affinity for mortals, demons are the obvious choice. This said, there’s no reason that any given person can’t evolve–or devolve–into a vastly more alien consciousness. Once detached from the bonds of an organic body, a soul’s identity becomes far more malleable. With enough time, the right influences, and in some cases enough power, they can become anything they wish.
Thus, it’s not always wise to call to the souls of the dead–the being which answers might share little with its old identity beyond a name.
Today’s Full Segment: Tangentialism (World: Creation’s Fringe)
Tangentialism is a Latren-Laprani philosophy revolving around their ancient superstition that alternate timelines and parallel universes call out to each other on some ill-understood level. Tangentialist “theory”–a dubious use of the term at best–holds that by pursuing connections in thought diligently and paying careful attention to how one’s own emotions or perspective shift with them, any sapient being can unearth the universe’s deepest secrets.
A number of scholars across the ages have pointed out this sounds like something one makes up to justify consuming huge amounts of narcotics and doing nothing all day.
Whether there’s any merit to their methods or not, Tangentialists have gained a small foothold among several species and many cultures on the Fringe. A Tangentialist “community” usually consists of a few well-ordered buildings paid for by the one or two wealthy members drawn to such groups. It’s not that Tangentialists never do anything, but by their philosophy’s nature they make for unfocused workers with mediocre productivity. Those trained in Tangentialist thought are at their best in creative fields, and at their worst in anything else whatsoever.
Laughable though they may sound, Tangentialists do turn up spectacular discoveries from time to time. It was a Marrowscour Tangentialist, Lilot Quedra, who realized the best method for tracking the Fringe’s changes with each Marrow-Wreaking. This came over the course of an afternoon musing on fibers in silk which turned into a meditation on color, then the “natural weave” of stones.
Lilot determined that the Marrow would certainly create unique differences in the patterns and consistency of stone on contact, which proved to be true, and that these differences would allow a skilled team to figure out which pieces of an area had changed place. Lilot further argued they might be able to determine why; while a compelling notion, it’s yielded no fruit.
As far as the Fringe’s peoples are concerned, the Tangentialists are at worst harmless, and that’s a compromise they’d be happy to make more often.
There we are, Day Twenty-Four taken care of! As always, let me know any thoughts down in the comments, leave a like, and share this with any you believe might enjoy it. I remain, of course, your humble servant over on Twitter. Call upon me there should you desire.