February 10th, 2009

stone fish levitate levi
  • syhd

What if Leonardo da Vinci was a wizard...

Most fiction or fantasy worlds have an underlying assumption that no matter weirdo thing is happening now, an Ancient Civilization (TM) has Been There, Done That, Has The Relics and Ruins To Prove It. It's happened in real life, with Renaissance rediscovery of classical learnimerating, discoveries of lost treatises on mathematics scraped off old parchment, reconstructions of complex ancient devices like Antikythera Device, the Mayan Calendar, etc., ad nauseum. But, in the real world, we've discovered things that would beggar the imaginations of the ancients. Every era has its inventions and breakthroughs, something that had not been thought of before by those damnably overachieving Ancients.

Bearing that in mind, has anyone designed or run a campaign where the state of magic being played in the world IS the most advanced that has ever been? And if so, describe it. Is there a stage of development "limitation" placed on the state of "magic advancement" on the world? For instance, if you play Victorian-esque campaigns, you have Difference Engines and steam-powered thingamajigs, but atomic power is right out. In a world of magic, what would the magic advancement be set to?
- No universe changing wishes?
- No time travel?
- Localized magical effects (city sized) are possible, but regional or worldwide scale magic hasn't been worked out?
- No one has discovered how to create illusions?
- Everything is done by blood magic, and the amount of blood needed to fuel the effects limits the magic?
- Only selected flavors and types of magics are in practice (currently it's all elemental and priestly)?
- The race of the caster limits the possibility? Djinn and other supernatural creatures can do those things, but humans cannot because their bodies would be ripped apart by the more powerful magics?

Then, what sort of advancements would you bring into the world that are actual advancements, breakthroughs in magic, rather than the rediscovery of what had been done before? And what effect does this have on the game/plot?
- A human figures out how to create a variation of a supernatural magic through substitutions and reverse magineeering?
- The discovery of a new form of magic (crystal power!)?
- Or just a bigger, better fireball that devastates an entire region and begins a new magical arms race?

Sorry for the meandering logic. I'm trying to herd vague ideas with words. Feel free to answer as you best interpret what I'm trying to get at.