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A Disccusion About Anti-Magic

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Magic rock<sealing paper<shotgun<(magic rock again and repeat)

What you need to avoid is 'my speciul powah>everything else.'

I'd say the goal is to figure out a chain of what would counter what and if you think you end up at a power that seems invincible you either missed something or broke the anti-munch project (also known as insisting you can do something so dickish that other people will refuse to play with you.... And have a point.)

At least I find the theory crafting fun, even if I don't get to employ most of what I come up with.

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I feel like ideally, 'anti-magic' as a concept - one I'm actually largely averse to anyway - should be fairly literal. That is to say, it is a specific counter to magic, disrupting that stuff specifically but not necessarily other means of using absurd abilities. Like using water to put out a fire - pretty effective at that task, but not always the thing you'll wanna use. Meanwhile, if someone wants to say 'Ah, but my thing is not magic!' they should in turn ideally specify what alternative system their character's abilities belong to, so that one can plan and build around such as well. Sure, a giant's strength may not be 'magic' in nature, but as a biological mechanism, that can mean that crippling 'em the good old fashioned way renders a more permanent effect on their ability to punch stuff. Trade offs for how you do it.

 

Thing is, in practise, the various mentions of anti-magic - and magic scaling - in the setting - emphasis setting, not specific characters - are often more meant to be practical in an OOC way. That is, a simple means of explaining or enforcing why people can't just do X, like break out of supers prison or the like, in the knowledge that this is a site that deliberately attracts a wide range of audiences genre wise, and yes, will pick up players that are likely to rules lawyer their way out of a situation if allowed. So stuff like the genius loci bringing down the general availability of 'magic' in Fracture is just a functional handwave for a player restriction of lowered abilities generally, rather than as a specific challenge to spellcasters.

 

Really, check with who you're playing with more than anything else and how they feel. 

Edited by Meraxa

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On 12/6/2019 at 1:04 PM, Fierach said:

It does boil down to context, and I think we are envisioning different definitions of anti-magic. To use a past action I've been in, lets say an enemy used magical fire on me. If I had some sort of antimagic, I could nullify, or compromise the effects of the attack so that it doesn't hurt me (or doesn't hurt as much, I usually opt for "resistance" over "immunity"). If I had similar powers that granted me fire resistance, I can also nullify or compromise the effects of the attack, albeit in a somewhat different manner.

 

Badly written, both can be "no u".

 

To use Arashi's character for example, some characters have different magic/energy/supernatural-energy-name-of-choice-insert here systems. Lets say somebody devised an antimagic system that targeted more traditional magic users who rely on mana. Yes, Arashi would not be as affected, if at all. What if another antimagic system was devised that targeted those who used spiritual energy and auras? That would surely be effective. To be, its sort of like, if I had a sword. Sword’s nice. Kill plenty of people with it. Except there’s this guy who wears well-crafted, fluted plate armor that’s all but impenetrable to the sword. So instead of the sword, I get a mace, or a war hammer. It is more effective against the plate armor. I digress. Antimagic is a sort of power. Powers can be extraordinarily varied. And of course, powers can be abused.

Power interactions can be grouped. I'll call the types: suppression, cancellation, and mitigation. Suppression prevents a character from using a power. Cancellation nullifies a power during or after use. Mitigation acknowledges the power as having been used and manages the effects. Power interactions that fall within the suppression-cancellation spectrum are less likely to be mutually affirming, and that's where anti-magic typically lives.

The difference between "no u" and "yes, and" is not about bad vs. good writing, nor is it about nobody vs. everybody complaining. It's about acting in the affirmative. 

Let's say we define mana one way and define ki another way. Anti-magic that affects mana might not affect ki. That sounds reasonable. I use a ki ability, and Carlos uses anti-magic on me. In response, I direct Carlos to my dissertation on the metaphysical differences between power systems, and I tell him I am unaffected. It's certainly rational, and Carlos will be impressed and grateful because this is good writing and not bad writing. I definitely did not "no u" Carlos.

Except I'm not considering the pragmatics. In practical terms, Carlos spent time writing that post, and I reduced his narrative impact to zero and justified it with some technobabble. Really, it's like he never posted at all. 

I'm not saying it's impossible to act in the affirmative in these situations. If you do, then I'll happily lick your candy cane and call you Santa Claus. What I am saying is that I find affirming the other players' characters as cool and effective more important than how good at writing or how logical I am. Anti-phlebotinum and the differences between devil fruits and kundalini martinis aren't all that important.

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55 minutes ago, desolate milkshake said:

Power interactions can be grouped. I'll call the types: suppression, cancellation, and mitigation. Suppression prevents a character from using a power. Cancellation nullifies a power during or after use. Mitigation acknowledges the power as having been used and manages the effects. Power interactions that fall within the suppression-cancellation spectrum are less likely to be mutually affirming, and that's where anti-magic typically lives.

The difference between "no u" and "yes, and" is not about bad vs. good writing, nor is it about nobody vs. everybody complaining. It's about acting in the affirmative. 

Let's say we define mana one way and define ki another way. Anti-magic that affects mana might not affect ki. That sounds reasonable. I use a ki ability, and Carlos uses anti-magic on me. In response, I direct Carlos to my dissertation on the metaphysical differences between power systems, and I tell him I am unaffected. It's certainly rational, and Carlos will be impressed and grateful because this is good writing and not bad writing. I definitely did not "no u" Carlos.

Except I'm not considering the pragmatics. In practical terms, Carlos spent time writing that post, and I reduced his narrative impact to zero and justified it with some technobabble. Really, it's like he never posted at all. 

I'm not saying it's impossible to act in the affirmative in these situations. If you do, then I'll happily lick your candy cane and call you Santa Claus. What I am saying is that I find affirming the other players' characters as cool and effective more important than how good at writing or how logical I am. Anti-phlebotinum and the differences between devil fruits and kundalini martinis aren't all that important.

This hits the nail right on the head.  The most important thing is to encourage a healthy back and forth where players are engaged and have to actually interact with someone's writing and not just the broad idea of an action

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For me there’s a big difference between what a thing “can be” and what it “usually is” in practice. There are definitely ways in which an anti-magic ability can be conducive to story - and not all abjuration is negating magic; shields confront an attack where a lot of the problematic sort is as desolate said usually cancelling or suppressing rather than mitigating. But the way I see most people use anti-magic most of the time tends to be optimized for combat victory rather than optimized for dramatized conflict. When the latter it’s almost always chill, if not downright tasty. The same thing happens with detect magic or a like ability. It can be used in a balanced / costly way that’s easy for all parties to digest or it can be used in a way that’s just an excuse to metagame at a sour level 

Edited by supernal

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