Court Wizard - No Enchantments?

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Jwok

  • 59
Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2014, 07:17:11 PM »
This whole "doing rights you don't have" thing brings up an interesting question when it comes to the supernatural/magical. Any average human person has the physical/social ability to attempt to impose the law on others, and the social ramifications of them not having the right to do so plays out fairly naturally. But when it comes to things like being overcome by an oracular vision, how does that play out? Does the MC just say no, the gods defy you this privilege because it is not your right? Can they have the oracular vision anyway, perhaps enraging the gods that such a transgression was made without the right to do so? These are some juicy questions - I'm very curious to see how they'll be answered. I'm especially curious to see if the answers to situations like this will be specified in later revisions of the game, or will ultimately and intentionally be left for the players to decide at the table : )
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Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2014, 12:08:05 AM »
But when it comes to things like being overcome by an oracular vision, how does that play out? Does the MC just say no, the gods defy you this privilege because it is not your right? Can they have the oracular vision anyway, perhaps enraging the gods that such a transgression was made without the right to do so?

As the MC, I would first look to the basic moves. If what the player is trying to do can be answered there then it triggers the move. If nothing seems to fit the player's description then I would look to the MC agenda and principles. If nothing still fits properly then the player is just flailing about trying to have a vision and getting nothing.

Or maybe it's an opportunity for a hard move? You try to have a vision and the local soothsayer, or the Wicker-Wise, notices it as an attempt to defy or usurp her authority.
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Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2014, 07:35:06 PM »
I feel like (and I may be wrong here), that Enchantments are open to anyone in a mechanical sense. If you go a shrine of your gods, offer them a bounty and inflict 1-Harm on yourself, you can make an NPC fall in love with you for a night or talk to the ghost of your dead mother. The rules even say "You can perform any enchantment, at any time you choose to do so." That's the stuff of fairy tales right there. On the other hand, if you don't have the right then you are performing unholy black magic and are a witch! The Court Wizard is "trembling before God" and so does not have the right to use unholy witchcraft. . .but he does ave the ability.

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Ich

  • 21
Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2014, 09:44:49 PM »
That's some thought provoking discourse right there!

EDIT:  It makes me reconsider my comment in this thread about attempting 'magic' without the Right.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 09:57:33 PM by Ich »

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2014, 09:55:40 PM »
I'm late to the conversation, so I don't know if there's been previous discussion about how all characters who don't explicitly have a right implicitly have "you do not have the right to. . ." but it was something that struck me almost immediately. The average NPC does not have the right to petition his betters for redress, to own a war horse, lance and kite shield, to own an enchanted weapon, to enchant another, to command the armies in defense of the stronghold, to contact the gods of his people etc.

People may not question the one without a right but if you don't have the right, you have no recourse. If someone with the right to an enchanted weapon or a war horse steals yours, you had no right to it and now its theirs by right (which is kind of like law). If no one else will command the war party, you might be able to do it this one time but its not your right.

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2014, 11:10:07 AM »
I understood the same thing, Nomadz, when reading the rules for enchantments. Anyone can do it at any time, even without the right to do it (with whatever fictional consequences that may follow).

I think only the wicker-wise has the right to enchantments in his playbook. Of course other characters could acquire them through experience as time goes by.

All in all, I like that very much.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 01:17:46 PM by Per Fischer »

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2014, 12:18:47 PM »
I think this is an interesting interpretation, but the text allows another, which is that the text says who has which rights but is silent on who has what abilities. So it's not "everyone automatically has the ability, even if they don't have the (social) right" but rather "you have no right to expect that it will work, but it might -- play to find out." Can the court wizard cast enchantments? Maybe: to do it, she's got to do it, and the MC, guided by her principles, will say what happens.

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2014, 05:54:48 AM »
The rules even say "You can perform any enchantment, at any time you choose to do so." That's the stuff of fairy tales right there. On the other hand, if you don't have the right then you are performing unholy black magic and are a witch! The Court Wizard is "trembling before God" and so does not have the right to use unholy witchcraft. . .but he does ave the ability.

As you quoted, it does say "You can perform any enchantment, at any time you choose to do so," and gives details how.  So, yeah, it looks like you might get burned at the stake for doing that when you ought not be!

So, Vincent or Meguey, since these are playtest documents can you clarify whether that was deliberate or not?
Can any playbook really perform any enchantment?
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Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2014, 04:45:46 PM »
Hmm, the playtest instructions do actually say, "Rights give individual PCs their own unusual abilities, modifiers to the moves, or other situational beneifts. They can have both game-mechanical and purely fictional effects."

I think it's clear that taking some "rights" on your character sheet actually confers abilities, just as that line states. They aren't wholly about social contract or perception of others. If you take the right to correspondence in Greek, it's a reasonably safe bet that you can actually read and write in Persian... and if neither Persian  nor literacy is particularly common in your setting (and by default, in a Dark Age of a Northern/Western Europe different from our own, they wouldn't be), then most other people simply can't carry on such correspondence. There might be some who have the ability but not the right -- slaves who were formerly scholars in the East and are now forbidden from writing, say. But there are others who have neither the right nor the ability. The right, in addition to being a right, has also "granted you an unusual ability" which others do not have. It's not that everyone can read Persian, but only you will avoid getting in trouble for it. It's that they actually can't read Persian.

There's something about "anyone can do any enchantment" that is attractive if you think of enchantments as having to do largely with summoning the old gods, folkways that are available to those willing to take the risks involved. But there's also something about it that bothers me a lot, because the Dark Ages were also full of mystical, hermetical, and other secret magical traditions, and even in sort of hedge-witch paganism there was clearly the sense that some people were special and knew special secrets. The idea that the only thing keeping the War Captain with a -1 Weird from sacrificing seven people and permanently turning a dozen of his warband into unkillable zombies, and the only thing stopping him from doing so is social sanction (including the sanction of the gods)... that seems to pretty radically decouple magic from "unusual abilities" and knowledge in a way that seems problematic...

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2014, 05:17:01 PM »
Well, I'm not sure sacrifices would stack for one thing. One body per enchantment. So if the War Chief wants a zombie army he'd have to give a bounty, 1 Health and a life in a shrine sacred to his gods in a ritual lasting an entire season to create one. If he then released someone from an oath and prayed for forgiveness from the Wicker Hag he could have his 12

but. . .

He doesn't have the right to do any of this and its not exactly something that can be done in secret. He's asked his gods to raise the dead for him paying a price in blood and lives. This is almost a stereotypical evil ritual. Do his gods like the Wicker Hag and vice versa? Has he done anything requiring the forgiveness of the Wicker Hag? Because he's just spent a whole season drawing her attention in a different god's sanctuary. Are either the Wicker Hag or his gods going to be happy about that? How are the crown and the Court Wizard going to feel about it? What about the priesthood? How about the people who produced the bounty that he sacrificed to turn their dead family members into an undead army?

For a Wicker Wise, its more or less a given that she can do this in a shrine to the Wicker Hag without having to worry about most of that because its her right.

On the other hand, a Court Wizard gives blood and bounty in a shrine to make the someone fall in love with his lord for one night.  He doesn't have the right either but this is exactly the Merlin/Uther story. There were plenty of consequences to come out of that one night.

I like the idea of enchantments being available but consequential to people who don't have the right.  Someone denied a right that they do have should be consequential. So should someone doing something that they have no right to.

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2014, 10:28:59 AM »
Sure, that's all cool and it's all narratively awesome. I have no quarrel with "whether you have the right matters". I am just ambivalent about throwing out "whether you have the knowledge matters."

Would the Merlin/Uther story work just as well if it wasn't Merlin, but some other guy -- not a wizard, maybe more of a Lancelot type -- giving blood and bounty in a shrine? Is what's interesting about Merlin simply that he's *willing* to offer the blood and bounty, and he's no more or less *good at it * than anyone else in the story, despite, you know, *being Merlin*? Maybe so -- maybe this is a Dark Age where the only thing standing in the way of anyone from creating a zombie army is simply the consequences they have to face for doing so, and procuring the appropriate access to shrines, sacrifices, and bounties.

Maybe that's also specific to enchantments, which do basically almost say "anyone can do them". I find it a little grating that any 12-year-old can just go summon the dead without even having to find a musty tome or bribe an old crone, but so be it... these are the enchantments that are intuitively obvious to anyone who's heard the old tales, because they basically involve just sacrificing and asking. But the one about leaving your body and traveling elsewhere like the Court WIzard can, maybe that one is a right-which-also-implies-the-ability-when-you-take-it, and there's no reason to assume that people who don't have the right can do it, any more than that they can read administrative documents in Persian.

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2014, 01:58:13 PM »
Well, a 12 year old can't because there's no 12 year old playbook. I suppose I should have specified "Any PC". NPC's would have whatever back story, materials and rituals I think fit the story and the principles. Maybe there's a big Threat that can combine sacrifices and effectively turns every soldier his army kills into an undead flesh eater (a weaker conversion rate than seven dead for 12 zombies). That's pretty apocalyptic right there.

My personal take is that these things aren't necessarily widely known or practiced but they're the kind of thing that a PC can find out easily enough either through Literacy, asking around or maybe a Weird roll. Its difficult to go from the general framework to a specific circumstance and I definitely won't have time for a playtest before November but I'm really hoping someone in my group tries this. Maybe that bounty of goods requires a bunch of red capped mushrooms that allow you to leave your body. I just personally feel like the cost and consequences will slow people down enough that someone without the right doing enchantments is going to be very consequential. I'm inclined to err on the side of permissiveness in that situation.

I used the Merlin example precisely because it sounds like someone who didn't have the right but did it anyway. You're right, though, that he clearly had knowledge that Uther didn't.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2014, 03:06:54 PM »
Since Nerdwerds asked for a ruling:

I'm pretty sure that the text as it exists allows both readings. Whether texts to come will allow both, or specify, I daren't speculate.

My advice is to withhold judgment on the matter yourself until a PC who doesn't have the right to perform enchantments nevertheless undertakes to perform an enchantment. Decide then whether they're able. You might consider having them consult the Other World, as Nerdwerds suggests, as a prerequisite, and let the result of that move lead into the enchantment, yea-or-nay.

-Vincent

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2014, 03:19:25 PM »
Oh, actually, I can be a little more forthcoming than that.

If I'm the MC, and we're in early play, and the War-captain's player asks me if they can perform enchantments, my answer is, "well, I mean, you can make sacrifices and petition your gods, but you shouldn't expect to have access to the enchantment rules, any more than [pointing to the Dragon-herald playbook] if you muster warriors, you should expect to roll weird."

Setting expectations this way in the early game will mean that the War-captain probably won't undertake to perform enchantments frivolously, and if they do, I've prepped them to be shot down. But if, in later play, the War-captain DOES undertake to perform an enchantment, not frivolously, I'll judge it then, like I say.

-Vincent

Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2014, 09:48:13 AM »
I look at enchantments a bit like performing a marriage - if you have the right to do that (real-world parallel:  have the legal recognition as authorized to perform such a service) it's legally binding and there's no contest, even if the relationship may not last. If I try it, it might be a pretty ceremony and have meaning to the couple, but it's not legally binding, won't stand up in court, and certainly doesn't bind the gods.