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Author Topic: Limits on magic?  (Read 2711 times)

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Offline whitelaughter

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Limits on magic?
« on: April 06, 2016, 09:05:19 am »
Other than exhaustion, is there anything that restricts repeated use of magic in the books? Or (other than the fear of persecution) limits the world changing effects of constant spell casting?

With access to two transfer portals, a merchant could make a fortune, easily bypassing customs in intermediary states.

The thought of a teenage body with mind control is frankly creepy, but in just a few generations could result in the majority of the population being of deryni descent.
Less worryingly, controlling the local burrowing animals to dig out foundations, moats etc would kickstart building projects.

Terrifyingly, charming all of the pigeons out of  city, lighting them and sending them back to burn the city down make sieges unnecessary.

And so on, and so forth. Understood that it's just a story, but is there an internal explanation?

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2016, 10:22:25 am »

Exhaustion is the only limiting factor, other than knowledge. Remember that Duncan and Morgan didn't have a complete Deryni education between them. And also within Gwynedd would be the persecution issue as well.

Yes a merchant could use Transfer Portals to cut travel and distance down. Possibly avoiding customs and tariffs along the way. However Transfer Portals are limited in about 4 people using it or equivalent mass at one time. Thus the amount of goods would not be near the size that one could take overland. It would require several jumps back and forth. And then an increase in exhaustion.

Remember that Deryni children have blocks placed by their parents for training purposes. And teenagers in the 11 kingdoms are far more mature then they are in our own world. Nothing wrong with the majority of the population becoming Deryni in my opinion.

Building projects getting a kickstart from animal controlled Deryni would be very helpful. Maybe it happens in Torenth already. We haven't seen enough of Deryni ran areas in Katherine's writing to know for sure.

As a side note. I am a gamer and have ran my own gaming world with Deryni for many years. There the majority of the population is Deryni. Deryni powers are common place and not persecuted for the most part. Transfer Portals have been very common. Every city has a public portal available to use. So getting around is easy. 

Offline Evie

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2016, 10:56:07 am »
Bynw covered some of the limitations on magical usage. Others might be one's conscience and innate sense of ethics, and the societal imperative not to stray too far from the bounds of acceptable behavior. Also, because magic has such an energy cost and requires at least some degree of focus and concentration even for less sophisticated uses (and much more so for uses that go beyond the ordinary), that would be limiting in what a single Deryni can do at any given time. Can a Deryni warrior cast illusions? Certainly. But can he focus on doing so while actively engaged in fighting for his life at close range in pitched battle? Either the illusion or the swordplay would need to fall by the wayside, since it would be impossible to focus sufficient concentration on both. (At least Duncan couldn't manage it, and I don't think that's because he was half trained. It's because invincible characters are inevitably boring ones, and it's in their inherent vulnerabilities--and finding ways to overcome them or work around them--that one finds compelling stories.) One of my stories in the fanfic section deals with a Deryni serial rapist and murderer, but despite being a nobleman, he can't be public about the use of his powers, because no single Deryni, no matter how powerful, would be able to fight off the fearful mob that would surely rise up to destroy him if his society knew what he was up to. (Even with just a few people finding out, things don't end up well for him!) In Deryni-fearing Gwynedd, not only humans in society but also other Deryni place severe limits on how magical power can be ethically used. Sending flaming pigeons into a city would inspire horror in a human population (after all,  the fears would be, if Deryni could/would do that to birds, what might they do to humans?), so even other Deryni would be likely to want to nip that sort of idea in the bud for fear of it leading to even worse anti-Deryni persecution as the likely reaction to such an act. Just because power can be wielded in certain ways doesn't mean it necessarily follows that it should be used so, and with the need to avoid increased persecution, Deryni morality seems more often than not to be more finely tuned as a result, at least from what we can see in Gwynedd. There are exceptions, but not usually blatant ones. More misuses might occur in a kingdom like Torenth where Deryni power is more widely accepted, but I imagine even there, there'd be some form of checks and balances among the Deryni ruling class just to ensure abuses don't grow so commonplace as to inspire a human revolt.
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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 11:26:28 am »
In the books, there are three very limiting factors to using magic.

As Bwyn and Evie have stated, Focus and concentration is a key to any manipulations. Training to Focus properly, takes time to learn. It is a bit like meditation and any outside distractions can destroy your focus. 

Secondly exhaustion is very limiting. Morgan setting up the Wards Major(cubes) causes him to sit back and take a breather. Most forms of long distance communication are best done with several people channeling the energy together. It took about eight people to build a portal. If a portal needs closing quickly, one person can do it, but it will kill that person. In several instances, we see where magic consumes the wielder sometimes to the point of death. 

The third restriction is education. Think of it like a student going to college to first get a bachelors degree, masters degree and then a doctorate. You can only perform magic in the subject and to the level that you have studied and you have trained for. Not every one specializes in the same kind of magic. Camber was known to be especially good at Rapport. His forms of rapport were always smoother and fuller than most others could manage. ( I suspect that is why he can communicate from the spiritual world that he spelled himself into.) Some of the Torenthi Deryni where studying weather manipulation. but I doubt few could really achieve it. And then there is Lweys ap Norfal... will we ever know what he attempted?  most Deryni can learn the lower level magic but the higher level magics can take a life time of study and can be dreadfully dangerous.  In the Kings Deryni, magic killed a Torenthi prince and drove his brother insane. 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 11:36:25 am by Laurna »

Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 06:37:10 am »
Thanks everybody!

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 09:56:52 am »
Yes a merchant could use Transfer Portals to cut travel and distance down. Possibly avoiding customs and tariffs along the way. However Transfer Portals are limited in about 4 people using it or equivalent mass at one time. Thus the amount of goods would not be near the size that one could take overland. It would require several jumps back and forth. And then an increase in exhaustion.

Not all goods are bulky.  Gems, for example.

That is one reason why many Portals are 'trapped'--to make unauthorized use difficult.  That's why Connell was warned not to experiment with any portals he found when traveling.

Anent the trick with the pigeons, any Deryni with enough rapport with animals to pull it off would probably also feel the birds' pain.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 10:50:07 am by Elkhound »

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2016, 04:46:03 pm »
Anent the trick with the pigeons, any Deryni with enough rapport with animals to pull it off would probably also feel the birds' pain.

This is an interesting aspect and would set limits on any mind control that a Deryni might be tempted to apply.  You are not going to send in a death squad via mind control if you feel every one of the deaths.

And I think I am grateful for that.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2016, 08:05:14 am »
This is an interesting aspect and would set limits on any mind control that a Deryni might be tempted to apply.  You are not going to send in a death squad via mind control if you feel every one of the deaths.

And I think I am grateful for that.
That's quite a reasonable limitation - that would have prevented Morgan from being able to summon deer for Bryon's hunts. So sadly probably not the case.

Also, it is instinctive for many creatures to flee to their nests when panicking, so mind control would not need to be maintained for a city burning.

Constant (mis)use of this power would rapidly cull the more susceptible members of each species, so it's possible that the only reason the power is still useful in the chronologically later books is the centuries of persecution of Deryni!

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2017, 05:10:39 pm »
This is an interesting aspect and would set limits on any mind control that a Deryni might be tempted to apply.  You are not going to send in a death squad via mind control if you feel every one of the deaths.

And I think I am grateful for that.
That's quite a reasonable limitation - that would have prevented Morgan from being able to summon deer for Bryon's hunts. So sadly probably not the case.



He'd only have had to control them to get them into range, then release them. 

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2017, 09:51:22 pm »
This is an interesting aspect and would set limits on any mind control that a Deryni might be tempted to apply.  You are not going to send in a death squad via mind control if you feel every one of the deaths.

And I think I am grateful for that.
That's quite a reasonable limitation - that would have prevented Morgan from being able to summon deer for Bryon's hunts. So sadly probably not the case.



He'd only have had to control them to get them into range, then release them.

I can see a young man doing this a few times to test his abilities and to please his king. But after the third or fourth go at controlling an animal, bringing them into the range of hunters where someone in the party may let an arrow fly early, or where he belatedly was slow at releasing his control and then living through the death of the animal, then that is when I can see him questioning the ethical motives and realize the full responsibility of his actions. Just this kind of thing may have been that which made Alaric Morgan the man that he became.

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2017, 12:48:04 pm »
I haven't seen anything in any of the books or in the Deryni Adventure Game that would leave me to believe that having something under your control. A person or animal, would be linked to feel it's pain. Unless you, as the practitioner ... the Deryni doing the controlling, wanted to have that link established.

A Deryni is capable of completing dominating another mind, Deryni (who would have multiple levels of defense), human, or animal (who really wouldn't have any defense.) And is able to bring that dominated creature even to a slaughter. You could block their pain so they don't even know they are being slaughtered until they are dead.

In Gwynedd and a few other surrounding Kingdoms, we know that the Deryni have been persecuted. And probably some for good reason. Maybe even the reason listed above. In Torenth, the Deryni are the ruling class. They are the noble families, the royal lines, even the priesthood. We have not ever really seen what the humans there do or how they may have been subjugated by Deryni without any moral scruples at all.


Offline Evie

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 09:06:24 am »
I guess some evidence against that sort of empathic link existing would be that if it did, villains like Teymuraz would have a much more difficult time doing things like Mind-Ripping their victims.
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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2017, 02:16:59 pm »
Without postulating an empathetic link as such I would have thought that  the ability of Deryni to read the emotions and pain of others could lead in particularly sensitive individuals to imagining the pain to such an extent that it becomes all but shared; however the ability to shield would counteract these and must surely have been used as a means of self-protection.

On a negative side I can imagine that for those of a sadistic tendency the greater ability to sense fear and pain would almost be an incentive rather than a deterrent. That is certainly at least implied in the description of Wencit's torture of Derry.
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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2017, 05:52:51 pm »
I guess some evidence against that sort of empathic link existing would be that if it did, villains like Teymuraz would have a much more difficult time doing things like Mind-Ripping their victims.

Wencit was a sadistic psychopath.  He not ony felt his victims' pain, he ENJOYED it.

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Re: Limits on magic?
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2017, 08:24:44 pm »

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that a Deryni cannot feel the emotions of someone they have in Rapport. All the evidence points to that they can. But it is a choice. One can choose to or not to.

 

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