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Worldbuilding a fantasy society (math-based magic system)

Accelerator

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Banned
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Ok. So let me make a rundown:

Linker core: immaterial, intangible organ that absorbs ambient mana and lets the mage use it. Everyone has it, although it can be weak or strong, depending on genetics and environments, just like muscles.

Mana: Basically, magical energy that allows for magical effects. The bigger the effect, the more mana is needed. Think of it, like electricity.

Spells: Basically? Usage of mana to do work. At the most basic level, think of it like ki or aura from rwby. Enhanced strength, speed, durability, and damage. But at higher levels, you need some way of expressing this. This can be done in many ways. Geometric shapes, singing, mathematics, or even body movements. As long as it has a mathematical component, one can use it.

The effects that magic can create include:

Spoiler: Show

Telekinesis
magical shields and forcefields
golems and automata
creation of beings such as familiars (animal-people with superior physical stats, and make up for the weakness of the mage)
healing (greater focus on sterilization, staunching bleeding and repair of injuries, instead of healing diseases)
Basic energy manipulation (holograms, moving and generating heat and light, firing beams)
anti-gravity


Linker core strength is partially genetic, and is heavily influenced by the mother. The increase is best obtained by training during youth, and increases slow down when exercising after 30.

It is discovered, right after the ice ages end, while mankind were still hunter-gatherers. Yeah, you got that right. Right after the ice ages ended, then humans started picking up agriculture, then someone, whether by chance or due to genius, somehow discovered it. And then, like a spark thrown into kindling, people started using magic. Sure, it wasn't easy to start by yourself. But.... when you have someone to show you the way, its much easier.

More info... kinda here:

https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/game-theory-iii-hawk-and-dove.223637/

So what I'm wondering, is how the society itself will start, because.... well, rule-based magic based on mathematics. And I know that even cavemen can do complex mathematics. They just need a big enough cave and a piece of charcoal
 

ask_me_about_our_specials

Registered User
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Actually, you should look into the philosophy of math for its effects on people's belief systems, politics, and religions.
There's many important questions like: does math come from people or from god or from the universe or where?

- There are some important consequences of what you're talking about. It's very possible that mathematics having a direct effect on the world may move people away from empirical research and towards things they can prove mathematically. A mathematical proof is far more rigorous than the kind of empirical scientific "proof" used in other fields like physics or something.

- I think a potentially dangerous aspect is that, well, in today's world we have discussions about regulating guns for example. Imagine if someone could carry around a "gun" in the form of mathematical knowledge. How would societies attempt to control that?

- You could look into how something like Godel's incompleteness theorem and related discoveries really might shake up a society built on math.

- There's the probably-myth that Hippasus was murdered for proving that square root 2 is irrational by people that didn't believe that irrational numbers could exist.

also here's some more fun diagrams
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
Haha, reading the first post.
"Smells like Nanoha."
"Smells like Game Theory worldbuilding."
"Yep."

Historically, "cavemen" (Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherers) math, um, well, we have lots of things that look like tallies, so that would be counting. Probably of days/astronomical phenomena, or maybe of days since a woman's period.

The two roots of practical math are counting and measuring (length, area, weight, and volume), which seem more relevant once you have agriculture and herding, especially for measurement. Counting of livestock, or grain taxes, measurement of fields and irrigation. Agriculture is also when you start getting mathematical symbols, at about the same time as writing (at least, Wikipedia said place value numbers at 3400 BC)

Stross's Laundry Files also have "math to do magic", though without the linker cores or superpowered magical girls.
 

Altheus

Not a nice person
Banned
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I like this idea, it means that magic is available to everyone with a bit of intelligence and education. When this setting really takes off will be when professional philosophers and mathematicians get involved.

Pythagoras would probably be the equivalent of merlin. "By making Pi = 4 in this circle I can step instantly from here to anywhere else, the exact location of anywhere else is my next project."
 

soltakss

Simon Phipp - RQ Fogey
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There would be several types of people:
  • Those that can't do Maths and can't use magic
  • Those who remember the formulae, shapes etc and can do magic
  • Those who expand on formulae, shapes etc and make new magic
  • Those who link the different types of Maths together and come up with new ways of linking spells and new forms of magic
So, for example, you might have geometric shapes driving certain spells, so a mason might be able to draw a triangle to support a wall or a sorcerer might use circles for protection or area effect spells, or formulae that control force, so someone might use Newton's Laws to accelerate mass or whatever. Now someone could research geometry and work out the relationship between circles and triangles, so could then use triangles instead of circles for protective magic. Someone could use complex numbers to generate interesting magical effects.
Formulae would be magical in nature. So, something like E=mc2 would be important magical and Euler's Identity of e[sup]iπ[/sup] + 1 = 0  would be extremely important. Sorry, not sure how to do superscripts in BB code.
 

soltakss

Simon Phipp - RQ Fogey
Validated User
Pythagoras would probably be the equivalent of merlin. "By making Pi = 4 in this circle I can step instantly from here to anywhere else, the exact location of anywhere else is my next project."
Pythagoras was a magician, in many ways. There was a lot of philosophy and religion in his teachings.

Also, much of the mathematics of the Bronze Age was for astrological purposes, to chart horoscopes and that kind of thing.
 

Accelerator

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Pythagoras was a magician, in many ways. There was a lot of philosophy and religion in his teachings.

Also, much of the mathematics of the Bronze Age was for astrological purposes, to chart horoscopes and that kind of thing.
What about stone age? I'm thinking of people using magic to just... jumpstart the usage of iron and metal.

And building.
 

soltakss

Simon Phipp - RQ Fogey
Validated User
What about stone age? I'm thinking of people using magic to just... jumpstart the usage of iron and metal.
Well, the Old Stone Age and Middle Stone Age probably had Counting and Arithmetic, useful for counting members of a herd you are chasing and dividing up the spoils.

New Stone Age had flocks and farms, so again, counting would be important. Having arable farms means you need to know about areas and dimensions, so geometry would evolve, not in the sense of Euclid, but as a way of working out field sizes. There is evidence that New Stone Age people used maths to plot stars and so on, so they aligned many structures with the Rising/Setting Sun at equinoxes or solstices, for example.

And building.
Building needs geometry, probably more than anything else. It also uses counting, arithmetic and measurement. It probably needs multiplication and division.

But, with the concept of maths as magic, the more they discover, the more they can do. So, being able to build buildings gives them geometry and geometry-based magic, which allows them to build more complex buildings, giving more complex geometry and more complex magic.
 
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