Tashiro (tashiro) wrote in roleplayers,

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Probability and Magic

A friend of mine is in the throes of world-building, and is looking over magic.  While replying to something in his post and some thoughts I had, I began to take a serious look at 'fate magic' and divination magic, and the sheer terror that someone could inflict using both of these and some creativity.  This is, to some extent, built on the foundation of statistical psychology and probability.

1)  A divination spell which regards individuals in the region and their current actions.  It combines with a limited form of psychometry, 'reading' the events of the people and objects up to a certain point 'backward'.  The goal is to get an accurate reading of what has happened in a location and who was involved in it.  Get a large enough sample of individuals and objects, and you get a clearer image of what has happened in the area.  This is good for reconstructing events and scenes, and finding out who was doing what.

2)  Flipping this the other way, the more you observe a group, the better you can predict how the group will act.  The longer the observation, the more you can break a group down to find out what section is responsible for certain decisions, and what sections respond to what stimuli.  Given even more observation, you can start predicting the behaviour of individuals in these sections and get an inclination of their personalty types and trends.  Now... enhance this awareness with magic.  You'll be able to predict the actions and reactions of a group with more clarity, will be able to predict the actions of sub-groups, and even individuals.  Want to know how a kingdom is run and who the real power is?  This spell might be able to tell you.  Want to know how organized the local thieves' guild is?  This will do it for you.  An excellent example is from Legion of Super Heroes -- look at Brainiac 5, and how he can predict things with startling accuracy.  Same principle, only fuelled by magic rather than genius.  It isn't precognition, but it's pretty close.

I could see this working to terrifying effect in Mage: the Awakening (or Ascension), and even in Shadowrun.  It might need a little more work for D&D though.  I do love mixing magic with science and psychology though.  The outcomes are pretty nifty at times.
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