84 thoughts on “Chapter Five revised

  1. I was wondering how the length of each of these chapters compares to a standard chapter in a hardcopy novel? Or if the comparison is not equivlent, how many words are usually in a novel and how many were in the spriggon mirror? Does online writing result in about the same length of words as usually done in a hardcopy?

  2. Not giving away the plot but adding to the excitement, do you anticipating answering some of the background questions about warlocks in this story that havent been answered?

  3. Could you ever see writing a story about the wizard who made the misenchanted sword? He was such an interesting character and we have seen him make apperances in other stories but do you ever forsee a story with him as the main character?

  4. There’s no such thing as a standard chapter length. Authors as varied as Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut have written one-sentence chapters, while some chapters are novel-length all by themselves.

    In all the Ethshar novels, regardless of where or when they first appeared, a typical chapter is ten to twelve manuscript pages. In the online serials I’ve made that ten pages my minimum; if a chapter naturally runs less than that, I don’t charge for it (which is why the last couple of chapters of The Spriggan Mirror were published all at once).

    The first draft of The Spriggan Mirror, as serialized, ran a little over 80,000 words — pretty typical for an Ethshar novel. The final version, which appeared in Son & Foe and will be in the Wildside edition, runs about 90,000, still in the normal range.

    For comparison, Ithanalin’s Restoration ran 78,000 words. Night of Madness was 119,000. The Spell of the Black Dagger was 114,000. The Misenchanted Sword was 92,000.

    I write novels and other stories to the length they ought to be; format doesn’t affect it. I’ve said this before, and it’s still true.

    I do expect The Vondish Ambassador to answer questions about warlocks, but quite likely not the ones you wanted.

    As for Fendel, he’s never going to be the protagonist of a novel. A short story, maybe, but not a novel. He may appear as a minor character, though — in fact, I may give him a scene in The Vondish Ambassador, I haven’t decided yet.

  5. I’m assuming that background such as “How the heck did you come up with Fendel in the first place?” or “Are there any other research Wizards (the sort that numerous commonly mentioned spells are named after) still wandering around Ethshar?” are not the sort of material you’d be willing to provide, or is it?

    If we look to Dungeons & Dragons, for instance, Bigby, Tenser, Mordenkainen and other such “famous” mages were all the names of characters the game designers played. The campaign details of those sessions might be interesting, but they certainly aren’t going to reveal them to many, unless they write their own books.

    But you WRITE books, so that sort of background information is at a minimum interesting to some (likely many) and at maximum potentially interesting enough to reveal in a work of its own. I could easily see Fendel as a central character in a book where he is called in and maybe something from his past comes back to haunt him. Maybe a countercharm is needed for a spell he created or some presumed lost/triggered spell finally gets activated and he has to explain the circumstances behind why it was still around, and maybe even come up with another spell to deal with it.

    Am I wrong? Am I the only one who is intrigued by the prehistory here? I understand that Thrimble might have been otherwise a dullard, but there has GOT to be more to Fendel and some of the others that would be great to include in a book.

  6. Thrindle wasn’t a dullard, really. If I remember correctly, though, he died in the Great War.

    Off the top of my head I’m not sure which of the famous wizards of old are still around; I can’t keep everything straight without looking things up. Some of them are definitely still alive, though, and may turn up occasionally.

    Really, though, I’m more interested in moving into Ethshar’s future than digging into its past.

  7. Fendel, I assume, is a respelling of Phendell(sp?), who was in Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series and then used in early D&D.
    I love references like that! Literarily Homage is the 43rd best form of flattery. It turns out cash is number one. Who knew? Yngvi did!

  8. You have written about the various magics such as warlock, wizards and witches. Have you ever thought about coming up with a new kind?

  9. Vance’s character was Phandaal. Yes, that was an hommage.

    I have come up with new kinds of magic, and expect to come up with more.

  10. I think I can come up with a list:
    Wizards – All books.
    Warlocks – Not sure if it was in the MS, but all others.
    Witches – All books.
    Theurgists – All books, but never really expanded on.
    Demonologists- All books, but their technique never really described.
    Sorcery – All books, but the origin of their items never described. Implication was that they just use them, but do not create them. Perhaps it is a lost art.
    Ritual dancers – Mentioned in many books, but never described, other than being weak.
    Scientists – Mentioned, but never really described. NoM has biggest description.
    Cult of Demechan – Few books, particularly CotBD. Some level of magic is implied, but perhaps purchased. Odd that they are based in Small Kingdoms if that is the case. Perhaps theurgy?
    Fabulous Flying Flatulators – Only one practitioner, but too embarrassed to do anything. 🙂
    Did I miss any?

  11. Warlocks don’t appear in The Misenchanted Sword because it’s set before the Night of Madness.

    Theurgists get some description in The Unwilling Warlord and Night of Madness. Demonologists really don’t get much coverage; probably the most is in The Spell of the Black Dagger.

    I really ought to explain more about sorcery. If I ever get around to writing The Sorcerer’s Widow

    Ritual dancers were added a few books into the series — I don’t remember exactly when.

    I think scientists were there all along, but really haven’t gotten any attention.

    The Cult of Demerchan isn’t a kind of magician, exactly. They’re based in the Small Kingdoms because they’re old.

    You missed herbalists and prestidigitators, who have definitely been mentioned. I think there may also have been a reference to charlatans as an actual form of magic — or I might have cut that before publication, as it was really just a joke.

    I’m pretty sure I mentioned necromancy, but that’s really a specialized use of other forms, rather than a magic in its own right.

    Not mentioned so far is at least one form of magic that really is a lost art, but might be rediscovered — songs of power.

    I’d like to find a use for the word “thaumaturge,” but I haven’t yet.

  12. I have noticed that the Theurgists are misnamed. They use prayers, which is not theurgy, no matter how successful. Ritual Dancers seem more likely to be actual theurgists. Theugy is the use of rituals to use God’s power. Like Catholic communion or Cabalists using Angelic language to perform miracles. I forget which Pope decided that all magic that was not specifically described in the bible (communion, healing oil, baptism…) was demonology, but that effectively ended Catholic, and christian, theugry.

  13. It’s sort of borderline; Ethsharitic theurgists use highly-ritualized prayers. They’re invocations or summonings, really, and some include specific gestures as well as words.

  14. Ohh, hard to distinguish thaumaturge and theurgists. Technically, a thaumaturge effects only physical miracles (hermetic amulets, faith healing…) and a theurgist effects only spiritual miracles (communion, baptism…). If you expanded Theurgists(and the Gods) into two seperate orders, it could be a nice distinction. Go to one to get food and go to the other to get information about your ancestors. Could explain why the Theurgist in tUW failed at certain kinds of prayers. He really was a Theugist and not a Thaumaturge.

  15. This thought is terribly off thread, and please move it to an appropriate newsgroup if you wish, but this has got me thinking about the nature of Eshtharian (sp?) magic. One is the Wizardly prohibition of combining magic, two is the lack of modern magic colleges, and three the apparent lack of active sorcery.
    During the great war, there appears to have been magic colleges (the magic research town in the de-magiced area in tMS) that combined different schools of magic (the area had multiple types of magic practiced). There would seem to be a natural synergy between theurgy and wizardry. Asking Gods for help in the creation of new wizardry spells seems obvious. The fact that this is not now done points to three possibilities: 1, there is something the Wizard Council does not want discovered. 2, there is no way for the Gods to help wizards and the wizards don’t want it known. 3, the powerful wizards want to keep new magic to themselves. The third seems unlikely, and the first two could be connected.
    Could it be that be that the Gods don’t like wizardry? Wizardry must have had an origin outside of itself. The spell of the Athame could not have been arrived at by itself, and is the first step in virtually all wizardry. The fact that wizardry uses raw chaos (hardly divine) and the wizards soul is divided by the Athame spell suggests a demonic origin. This further suggests that Sorcery would be divine in its source. Perhaps that would explain the limitations of sorcery. The Gods did not really like the Northerners and so making new wands got more and more difficult. Also, it would become more difficult to convince (fool) the gods into making deadly wands. With the withdrawal of the gods, it became impossible to make new ones. Not that this would make wizardry inherently evil, but might make people even more uneasy about wizardry.
    This would add a certain symmetry to the war and to magic.

  16. I’m afraid you’ve got it skewed a little.

    The gods can’t help wizards because they don’t understand wizardry. They can see wizards, and they can see the effects of a wizard’s spell, but the actual magic is outside their perceptions, just as warlocks are.

    But here’s the interesting bit — demons can’t see it, either.

    As for sorcery, gods and demons see that just fine. There are active sorcerers in Ethshar, just not as many as there are wizards, and I haven’t happened to write stories about them yet.

    The magical colleges did exist, yes — and were shut down when the war ended because they were seen as part of the war effort, which was over, as far as everyone was concerned. The idea of adapting military systems to peaceful purposes was generally unpopular — there’s a reason Ethshar of the Spices, originally a naval base, has no navy, despite the pirates of Shan, and why there’s a “guard” instead of an army.

  17. So who did create the first athame and how? That would make a good short story. BTW, a school of advanced wizardry would be interesting (and profitable to the wizards running it). Imagine that instead of trading spells or selling them (at a pound of gold a shot), you sold it twenty at a time and collected great grimoires of spells. Plus, you wouldn’t have to deal with mundanes, just fellow wizards. Think of Tobas with a great grimoire with no one to help him learn the spells within. He could share the spells with a wizard that could help him develop the skills he needs to cast higher order spells.

  18. So who did create the first athame and how?

    Lost in the mists of time…

    As Gresh muses in The Spriggan Mirror, wizards could run their business far more efficiently in lots of ways. That they don’t, given that not all of them are stupid, would imply that either there’s a reason to stay inefficient, or there’s something else going on. I know what’s going on, but it isn’t something the Ethsharitic man in the street knows, so it hasn’t come into the stories yet.

  19. I know what’s going on, but it isn’t something the Ethsharitic man in the street knows, so it hasn’t come into the stories yet.

    Darn, there has to be a way to get the sales back up so that you can write and publish the rest of this more effectively (i.e. you get paid better, the books come out faster) …

  20. “The lists of time”… Are those the lists that chronicle mists:)

    Thinking of the gods, how many are there? Are some unknown? To reach a God you either know the prayer or talk to a God that talks to him (or her). What if it is an unpopular God? Imagine the God of Sarcasm. No one remembers the prayer, if one was ever known, and the other Gods just don’t like to talk to or about him. He is too sarcastic. A completely unknown God. I imagine the God could talk to people directly if he wanted, but what of the God of Petulance? How many others could there be?
    If Gods cannot see Wizardry, could there be a god of Wizardry that the other Gods just can’t see? How would you talk to him?

  21. No one’s sure how many gods there are; theurgists know of about forty, but there are almost certainly more.

    There is no god of wizardry.

  22. 40 Gods and one of them is the God of Genealogy? No wonder the Great War lasted so long even with the Gods help. Perhaps the theurgists can only speak with the lame Gods, because smart Gods have better things to do than to chat with talking monkeys. 🙂

  23. So the ones they do know about and can contact those gods can ask other gods they don’t know about? (Like in Unwilling War Lord).

    It would be neat to have a wizard/warlock character. Have a almost apprentice age kid get accidentally changed to a warlock then get apprenticed to wizard. Then that character would not need wizard ingredients since he/she could create them on the atomic level.

  24. Warlocks can’t make athames; he’d have to be a wizard first, then a warlock.

    Wizardry involves non-physical components, so a warlock could not synthesize everything he needs. Besides, very few warlocks are good enough to create things on an atomic level.

    There are some gods who can contact other gods for a theurgist; they can’t (or won’t) all do it. A theurgist who knows how to invoke those particular gods is in good shape.

    There are almost certainly far more gods out there, but theurgists only know the methods of contacting forty.

  25. Speaking of wizardry ingredients, it seems that, with the exception of the gold/brass ring in MS, that the use (or misuse) of ingredients is non-linear. That is that the unknowing use of any incorrect item (or incorrect procedure) results in a completely unpredictable result that has little or no relation to the intended result or with the value of its replacement. And that the ingredients have no real bearing on the spell (none of the “Incomplete Enchanter” rules). At the same time, in IR, items can be knowingly replaced and procedures knowingly changed if the wizard is competent. This being the case, could it be that the qualities of the ingredients and the function of the procedures is nothing more than guides for the chaos the wizard is using when they are learning the spell? Could a remarkably competent wizard, after endless reuse of a particular spell finally discard altogether with all trappings and simply cast the spell directly from himself? Maybe leaving some small vestiges of the original spell for whatever reason.

  26. In Taking Flight,

    there is a spell which allows a wizard to create a spell which will cast (up to 3 iirc) other spells. It can be setup to cast any spell the wizard can normally cast. It acts like a spell storage system, and the wizard must cast the spells in reverse order to which they were added and must empty the queue completely before casting any other spell (or creating a new queue).

    The wizard who invented it was then unable to cast any more spells due to inventing (and casting) version 2 of the spell which prevented the wizard from emptying the queue, but allowed each spell in the queue to be cast an unlimited number of times.

    Maybe if that wizard had not cast version 2 until he had been able to create a spell that allows the canceling of the spell, he could have included that spell as 1 of the stored spells when casting version 2. This would allow the wizard to hold 6-7 spells “on tap” and then cast that spell to clear the memory if he wanted a different 6 (but then he would have had to cast them “manually” to set up the new set). There was hints that the spell could be reversed by a powerful wizard, so maybe he should have concentrated on that. Ofc, tradeoffs are fundamental in Ethshar.

    Btw, can research wizards tell what their new spell will do. It is said that a good (non suicidal) one can sense if replacing an ingredient will not cause the spell to fail, but can they tell what the result will be ? In tMC, Fendel obviously didn’t sense the brass ring (as it wasn’t going to cause an explosion?). Presumably, if it wouldn’t have worked, he would have detected an “imbalance in the force” when he reached to pick it up … and probably been able to tell if anything else at hand could allow him to proceed and/or how to dissipate the spell safely.

  27. No wizard can cast a serious spell without some external ingredients; that’s just not how it works.

    No, research wizards cannot tell what a new spell will do; that’s why magical research is so dangerous. They can sometimes tell roughly what sort of thing it will do — certain ingredients are associated with certain categories of magic — but that’s about it.

  28. So, it would logically flow that there have been some spells discovered in the past that were incredibly difficult, required intense ritual and exorbitant and exotic ingredients, were potentially deadly when miscast, but resulted in not much more than soap bubbles? Obviously those are the sorts of spells that no one bothers to maintain, aside from the creator/researcher, potentially, out of injured pride, if nothing else.

    That could be an interesting short story or even book. A Wizard’s book of spells is discovered hidden away someplace and some spells that are totally unknown to the Guild are therein. A team of Wizards attempt, through scrying or study, to figure out what the spells do, but are unable. Some highly skilled Wizards’ curiosities get the better of them and they decide to try the spells, under very controlled conditions, only to get soap bubbles or sparklies for a few minutes, and that’s all. OR IS IT???

    I could see the Wizard being struck by a very powerful but subtle compulsion or somesuch other effect that goes unnoticed by the caster. Or, alternately, the results are astounding, but manifest hundreds or thousands of miles away, so the caster is unaware that anything happened.

    Or is the chaotic nature of Wizardry so dangerous that no sane Wizard with a choice (Tobas in With A Single Spell as the exception) would ever try a high-order spell without knowing precisely what it was supposed to do?

  29. I didn’t realize a wizard could become a warlock and remain a wizard as well.

    Given that if you get too close to the source it makes you into a wizard involuntarily (and then eats you) that is interesting as is the thought that witchcraft and warlockery might blend.

    Do wizards disappear from the sight of gods or just warlocks and the spells of wizards? That the gods see sorcery, but not wizardry is interesting. Guess a theurgist isn’t going to be much use in finding out more about the source.

  30. Oh, technically, a wizard could become a warlock, but doing so would incur a death sentence from the Wizards’ Guild, and would mess up the wizard’s magic pretty badly. That happened to Manrin in Night of Madness.

    Gods and demons can usually see wizards; it’s only warlocks they can’t perceive.

    And yes, there are fabulously difficult, high-order spells that don’t do much of anything; they’re known, and used for training purposes.

  31. That’s what I thought (that it made it so he really wasn’t a wizard any more). But what you are saying is that it messes it up pretty badly, not that it completely ruins it.

    With two sources in the known world, I’ll bet there are even more sources in the entire world. Makes me wonder, not to mention, I’m surprised there haven’t been more warlocks fleeing south, etc. Unless they’ve been overshooting and running into other sources which eat them.

  32. Spoiler for “blood of a dragon”

    The above got me thinking… Can a witch become
    a warlock? I don’t see any reason, why they couldn’t,
    but I haven’t read ” Night of madness” yet. I have
    read “Blood of a Dragon” , however, and it is implied a witch can block the Calling. Could a witch/warlock
    block her/his own Calling? Even if not forever,
    could be veryinteresting.

  33. Warlocks who used to be wizards can still perform a little wizardry, but not much, and not easily.

    A witch can become a warlock, but using witchcraft would then become more and more difficult, and no, he couldn’t block his own Calling. The only reason a witch can block it is because he doesn’t hear it directly at all, and if he’s a warlock, too, then he does hear it.

    I know how many sources of warlockry there are; that’ll come up later in The Vondish Ambassador.

  34. First of all…
    Thanks for the reply!
    Now, by the way:
    “Warlocks who used to be wizards can still perform a little wizardry, but not much, and not easily.”
    Then, isn’t the sentence of death on warlocks who used to be wizards
    a wee bit uneccessary?

  35. So… In theory a witch could channel a few warlocks and do some amazing things. I can’t remember the reference but I know it was in one of the books. I think it was in the UWW?

    Hey I wonder if a wiki would not be better at this junction ? Let me know if you need me to set one up! Also, I can fix the spammers out.

    doyle at the above.

  36. Can a wizard turned warlock do wizardry as a wizard? In “A Single Spell” the witch was able to perform a very few spell from the grimoire. I recall one mentioned was a hypnotism spell. In TNoM the mage is only able to do a few spells including one that was a hypnotism spell. Could it be that some spells do not need an athame, and thus can be done by a non-wizard? In that case, could it be that a wizard turned warlock can only do those spells? If that is the case, might not the wizards council command to destroy their athame’s or die been a bit unnecessary? Granted, even if they did destroy their athames, they could still teach athamization to someone else. Perhaps even create new ones.

    Could a warlock become an apprentice magic user of a different class? Obviously not a theurgist or demonologist, but what about the others?

  37. The death sentence is required because wizards know Guild secrets that non-wizards are not permitted to know, and besides, wizards-become-warlocks can still do some athame-based wizardry. Just not much.

    Some spells don’t require an athame. Those are the ones Karanissa could do.

    It’s in The Blood of a Dragon that a witch discovers she can do interesting things with warlockry.

  38. Didn’t the one (apprentice) wizard choose to destory his athame? If the Mage had accepted the deal, would they have killed him anyway? He was a guildmaster! Destroying his athame wouldn’t have gotten rid of his knowledge.

  39. Technically, they should have both been killed, but the Guild cut them some slack since their transformation had been involuntary and in no way the result of anything they did.

  40. Also, they didn’t want to start a war with the warlocks … or would they not have cared about that ?

    The spell of the Athame could not have been arrived at by itsel

    Presumably, that spell has to be an athame-less spell. Alternatively, there is a much high order spell that does basically the same thing but doesn’t require an athame.

    Is the master part of the spell of Athamisation or just there for moral support ?

    Alternatively, maybe there is a ‘song of power’ that is used to create an athame. This would mean that if someone managed to kill all the wizards, then wizardry would die, unless someone re-learned the song.

    Though, that is probably true for many magics and also, a person who tried might end up getting a free immortality/pain spell combo and being teleported to a magically created place.

  41. The athame spell is 24 hours long and extremely complicated (I would like to know the level of that spell and how many people fail to get it right). If this is the first spell you have to do, how do you arrive at it by trial and error. You have to get it right THE FIRST TIME. What are the possible consequences of getting it wrong, besides the obvious black dagger. Maybe Chaos REALLY wanted to be used REALLY bad. Maybe a wizard time-traveled. Maybe the first wizard was just super scary smart. How old Is Fendel anyway?

  42. That’d be Firstday mornings — the days of the Ethsharitic sixnight aren’t as poetically named as our days of the week.

  43. If you must know, I have it in my notes as a zeroth-order spell. It doesn’t fit the standard rules; it can only be successfully performed once, after all.

    It can be safely aborted, unlike many other spells, and usually if a master sees that an apprentice is not getting it right, that’s what happens — the whole thing is just negated, and the apprentice tries again later, until he finally gets it right. If someone can’t do it in seven attempts, that person is deemed unsuitable to be a wizard, spells are placed upon him to prevent him from revealing Guild secrets, he’s given some monetary compensation, and he’s sent to find another line of the work.

    His master is then booted back down to journeyman status, for having either accepted an unsuitable apprentice when he should have known better, or for being an incompetent teacher.

    That’s very rare, exactly because the penalty imposed on the master is serious — there are ways of seeing who’s got potential and who doesn’t (as we saw in The Blood of A Dragon), and master wizards don’t take on hopeless cases. Maybe once in a decade someone slips up and there’s an apprentice who doesn’t make it after seven aborted athamezations; maybe once a century there’s an athamezation that’s completed but goes wrong, and the results there vary. Most commonly, the apprentice just dies, since he’s removed or destroyed part of his own soul.

    Tabaea tried it without a master, so no one told her when or how to abort it when it went wrong, no one prompted her during the ritual, and the result was the Black Dagger. She was fabulously lucky; that’s never been the outcome in any other case in the twelve hundred years the spell’s been used.

  44. Neat, this is as good as reading the stories. I’m thinking of picking up the entire series again and rereading it start to, err, current.

    I’m also looking forward to more on that promise in the warlock/witchery realm, I keep expecting to see it come up, it was such a teaser/foreshadowing.

    This is great, and I’m also hoping for a wiki.

  45. Ok, Lawrence, you have now engaged my curiosity in a dangerous way. So, the athame spell has been around for 1200 years. Before that, was there a different athame spell, or was that when Wizardry was discovered, or was it simply far less powerful or reliable because no athame existed?

    You have told me several times in the past that you are not terribly interested in talking about Ethshar’s history, since you are more interested in its future, but then you drop little bombs like “in the twelve hundred years the spell’s been used,” and all that backstory that you obviously have in your head (or on paper someplace) just seems all the more interesting.

  46. Will we ever find out what Kelder did that made everyone want to name their sons after him? Doesn’t have to be a whole novel or even short story, could just be bits of legends and ballads. Hmmm… Are there bards in Ethshar? I don’t recall seeing any. And that could be a way to [re]discover Power Songs. Maybe you could write a book called The Mastersinger of Sardiron (though I’m more eager to see books about sorcery and science).

  47. What Kelder? “Kelder” is the Ethsharitic equivalent of “Bob” — there isn’t any famous Kelder these people are named after, it’s just a nice name.

    There are no bards in Ethshar.

  48. Could the first wizard have been a visitor form another, separated part of the universe ? Or some non-human could teach the first wizard athame spell ? Dragon looks like a good candidate – dragon blood is important wizardry ingredient, dragons are ancient and old dragon could be incredibly wise. BTW could dragons been a wizards, or do they have magic of their own ?

  49. The relationship between theurgy and demonology is kind of interesting. We’ve been told that there is both a heaven and a hell, and that magicians (of various sorts) are capable of contacting souls there.

    But the gods don’t seem to run hell. On the one level the gods seem in opposition to demons, but the one time they directly clashed the gods seem to have wiped them up pretty handily. Is there some of of organized demon hierarchy? Is there a “head demon” (Satan figure) somewhere who is capable of going up against the gods? What do the demons do with the souls they have in hell, anyway? Do souls in hell turn into demons in some D&Dish manner?

    Also interesting is that the gods don’t seem much for laying down moral authority. I mean, is there a holy book somewhere that explains what you need to do to get into heaven and how to stay out of hell? The one argument that Vengar never makes to Lar is that, “The gods say murder is wrong, and I don’t want to go to hell.”

    Are there wizard spells capable of actually snatching souls out of the afterlife and resurrecting the dead, or can wizardry not reach there?

  50. Could have been, Serge, but he wasn’t. That would just push the “How did it start?” back a level.

    Wizardry was invented in Ethshar. Athamezation wasn’t the first thing invented; it came after a century or so of fiddling around with minor spells, and turned wizardry from a rather peculiar hobby into something powerful and important. Sort of the way the dynamo turned electricity from a scientific curiosity into a major industry.

    Dragons can’t be wizards because they’re inherently magic already.

    Souls that wind up in the Nethervoid do not turn into demons. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to it as “hell” (I hope I haven’t) because it really isn’t much like the traditional version of Hell; it’s more like the classical Greek underworld, except there’s no single ruler. Demons acknowledge ranks, but there’s no single Satan figure; there are about a dozen equals at the highest rank.

    The gods do not run the Nethervoid.

    There’s no holy book. If someone asks the gods outright, they’ll usually say that humans must decide right and wrong for themselves, maybe quote a few platitudes along the lines of the Golden Rule — but then in some drastic cases, such as murder and torture, they’ll say, “No, that’s wrong!”

    They’ve never said all killing is wrong, they’ve never done anything to stop slavery in Ethshar, they allow hanging and flogging as punishments without complaint, so obviously their standards are pretty loose. Some people, however, have made a point of seeing what the gods themselves refuse to do (they won’t kill, for example) and use that as a guideline.

    And no, there’s no actual resurrection. There’s necromancy, where you can talk to the dead, but you can’t bring them back to life.

  51. Well, even the greek did aknowledge a different treatment of souls
    in the afterlife, depending on what they had done while alive. There
    were the Elysian fields and the Tartarus as polar oposites. Both were part
    of the underworld, but the Elysian fields were supposedly a place
    of pleasant and peaceful rest, while the Tartarus was more or less hellish.
    Now, supposing some demonologist spends his/her life killling and maiming
    the inocent for selfish gain. Lets say he has a demoniac personality…
    Is he going to the same place as a relatively harmless person who didn’ t
    live long enough to do anything harmful ?

  52. Was thinking, Valder’s immortality was sorta forced, though I guess even then he could have checked out by going on a rampage.

    —spolier for The Misenchanted Sword—

    Would the sword have eventually carried out the last few killings even if it had to drag his comatose and/or blind body behind it (maybe cause him to unsheath it in the same way it can cause earth quakes)?

    Maybe the meeting of his wife and casting of the youth spell was a setup by the sword to ensure that he would be healthy enough at some point in the future to use up his 100ish kills ? In fact, that was pretty lucky for him and the sword had caused similar luck like when the burgulars attempted to steal the sword and ‘accidently’ gave it to him.

  53. About Raphfrk’s considerations, maybe a god was responsible,
    who knows? Maybe some gods do take interest on humans and
    interfere, without a theurgist’s summons….
    That would beg another question: If a god decided to destroy
    Valder’s Sword, would he be able to do it without harming anyone?
    Would a wizardry-based divination foresee the result of trying
    to obtain the destruction of the sword by hiring a theurgist to
    ask the gods to destry the sword?

  54. This cateogorization of magic reminds me of one of my other favorite fantasy novels: Master of the 5 Magics.

    In that novel, thaumaturgy was basically a magical method for manipulating energy that already existed in the world. Thus, the spinning wheel could propel a basket through the sky. The energy of fires could be used to direct projectiles in flight.

  55. There could be problems with a god destroying Valder’s sword. I seem to remember that gods and demons could die. I certainly makes sense considering that they have wars (at least one short one). Since gods and demons cannot see wizardry and that they are mortal, they would be prone to being hurt by it. Sometime in the past some god or demon would have tampered with a wizard’s spell and probably got hurt, if not killed. After that, I would expect them to keep a respectful distance. If a god or demon could, and would, override wizardry without consequence, demonologists and theugists would run roughshod over wizards. They don’t.

  56. I applaud mr. Fritsch considerations, and find them well-thought. I only think they are not the ONLY possibilities. One could be unable to see something, and still be immune to it. One could be (in theory) mortal, and still be invulnerable to a great many things. The fact that Ethsharian gods died in their war could mean just that they are vulnerable to some (unamed) force diverse of wizardry, and be unafected by wizardry proper. Also, IF the gods can destroy a magical object, as you say, without serious consequences to
    themselves, it doesn’t follow that they
    can over-ride any wizardry to the
    satisfaction of those troubled by it. Take, for instance Valder’s Sword. The diagnostic was that ANY route
    that wizardry could see, Valder’s
    life would be ended by the sword’s
    destruction. If a god could take the
    sword to some deserted place, and
    overpower its defenses by brute force,
    Valder would die, since his life-force was intertwined to the sword’s existence. At that point, Valder
    might accept the deal, but it would be hardly and ideal solution. And someone less altruistic than Valder
    would find this solution unacceptable.
    That would hardly put the gods in a situation of anti-wizardry panacaea.
    Brute-foce solutions all too often result rather insatifactory to the interested parties. And if the spell had been put on Valder himself, the gods might be unable to do any other thing than kill Valder. Hardly a situation to drive those suffering from adverse magic to go to the theurgist.
    As for the theurgists riding roughshod
    over Wizards, that would make theurgists (for instance) rather full of
    themselves, and that would make
    life hard for the gods whose intermediaries they are. That would be good reason for the gods giving the theurgists reason to be humble…

  57. No gods died in the Great War. I’m not sure where that idea came from.

    The main reason theurgists could never run roughshod over wizards is that the gods wouldn’t cooperate.

  58. So the question remains, can gods be hurt/die? And could they nullify wizardry? How about the famous pillar of flame?

  59. There was a battle at the end of the story. Was that more a nuclear weapons-like standoff

    “Ok guys how about we all just leave Ethshar alone and we don’t have to start killing each other”

    or maybe they just sent in the lawyers and even the Demons decided it wasn’t worth it.

  60. “I have a writ for you to cease forthwith all demonic activities and to vacate the premises immediately!” spake Kroldar the Litigious

  61. There probably is a god of lawyers. Will endlessly talk to anyone, at his hourly rate, but is impossible to get to DO anything.

  62. Back to the point of research magicians being able to guess what a new spell will do. It was said that
    “They can sometimes tell roughly what sort of thing it will do — certain ingredients are associated with certain categories of magic — but that’s about it” .
    There ought to be more than just it.
    When the army wizard examined Valder’s sword, he said that that the enchanter of the sword’s was a genius. If it is all a matter of sheer luck, then Fendel would just be lucky, not a genius. Besides that, how can
    Fendel survive decades – and be author of lots of important spells –
    and stay alive despite the inherent risks of his occupation – if there isn’t
    any way of knowing beforehand if a given new ritual will not burn him to a crisp?

  63. Fendel can’t guess exactly what a spell is going to do, but he can tell what it’s doing, allowing him to modify it on the fly. Basically, no other wizard has ever been able to manage that.

  64. That still implies some kind of order,
    of predictability. Without it, how can Fendel know his modifications won’t
    push the wizardry further towards
    the undesired course? And spells
    can be explosively fast. Say, if 20 modifications push it towards the
    worst result and one towards survival,
    Fendel won’t have time to try them all.

  65. Chaos theory says that there is an order, it is just *highly* dependent on inputs. If he was able to apply *very* subtle modifications, he could steer the spell.

  66. Well, it certainly sounds as though Fendel, in his research, was somehow able to discover a spell that allows him to monitor spells as they are being cast.

    I would think that would be a VERY useful spell for a high-order wizard. I would also think that the Guild would be very interested in how he does that, if only because it could potentially be immensely useful during apprentice training. I suppose if it were a sufficiently high-order spell itself, or if the casting of it took a very long time or required expensive ingredients, it might not be useful for much more than spell research, though.

  67. Another really useful spell would be a spell the replicates ingredients (including their intangible aspects), but is itself low level and doesn’t require hard to find ingredients.

    This would mean that a wizard could re-cast spells once the original ingredients were obtained by making lots of copies.

    However, all the magics in Ethshar have a limitation, ingredients and danger are wizadry’s.

  68. You don’t need a spell to monitor that; if you’re a talented wizard you can feel it.

    And no ingredient-making spell is known.

    Fendel’s relationship to the Guild is something I know about in detail; it may come up in a story eventually.

  69. The talk about spells for making
    things reminded me of a question:
    Are there “batch” spells for taking a bunch of raw ingredients and assembling them into a batch of products? For instance, in the
    universe of “Magic. Inc”, one standard
    proccess for making certain clothing
    items would be to get a magician to assemble fabric, thread, etc, that way. Could one ethsharian get a manuscript, ink, paper, bindings, covers… and have a wizard “print”
    a batch of books? Or do they have printing presses in Ethshar?
    Is there a publishing ndustry/business
    in Ethsar?

  70. Didn’t I mention that in The Spriggan Mirror? The gods insisted the spriggans weren’t really there, so they couldn’t do anything about them.

  71. Presumably, that was due to them being pure wizardry which is invisable to the Gods ?

    I wonder if they could see them when the mirror was taken into the dead zone (as they were mortal then). On a related question what about the duplicate of Karanissa (after she was ‘normalised’) ?

  72. Yes, the disposition of the second Karanissa as far as the gods are concerned is a very interesting point. It also makes me wonder what thre gods know of the alternate dimensions/worlds that exist. Are the gods aware of the localities where the Spriggans come from or Derithon’s private castle exists?

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