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Craftsman Magick

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

But first the link to the kickstarter, City Builder.

Probably the most important person in any community is the craftsman. He may not be the most powerful, or the richest, but he is most often the source of what the rest of the community needs to function. In City Builder he is the person who makes what the others need to do their work, or even just to live their lives. And he is often the one who can best make use of what magick is available to him.

For instance you have the carpenter, who can either be in the construction of buildings or furniture.

If in construction he will most likely have magick to help him determine the soundness of the wood being used, or how best to arrange the structure so as to use the amount of material it is safest to use and how best to put it all together.

Where furniture such as chairs, sofas, and tables are concerned, what to use in the construction. In some households he may include magicks that will keep track of just who is using that chair, or let any staff know just who had a midnight snack and ate up all the leftover caviar.

Then there is the matter of the jeweler, or white smith. Magicks that will signal when a drink has been poisoned. Or which will warn the wearer when they are being approached or are approaching another. Very popular with the parents of small children are wristlets a child can wear that keeps track of them, and tell the mother or father when the youngster has gone astray.

To be honest with you I can’t think of everything. About the best I can do is to provide you with examples and ask that you use your imagination and inventiveness. But just for the heck of it…

Timmy’s Pewters

Timmy makes items from pewter. Cutlery, dishes, cups and steins. Thanks to his magick he can insure that they are well make, and that they do not leak. They are also noted for their ability to withstand falls to the floor and blows from the angry and irate.

In addition depending on what they were made to hold they can keep food or drink at a constant temperature, and for a physician client (Alice the Chirurgeon) he produces bowls and plates that sterilize wound dressings and the like.

I’m sure you can come up with more.

In the third entry in this series we’ll have a look at entertainment places, with an emphasis on zoos. See you then.

Had a Thought

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Craft Magick

Skirmisher Publishing has a project underway, and I thought I’d help them out if they’ll let me. The subject is on city building, and so far they’ve raised enough money to publish the work in question and to expand on it to some extent. However, it is on the medieval city as a mundane entity, and so many of us have fantasy settings. What do you find in fantasies? Well, magick. So I’ll be producing a series of essays on magick in a medieval city, starting with communities, chapter one in City Builder.

Depending on the size of the community the available magick could be limited. Then again, it may not. Should a thorp be the home of a wizard or magus there could be a fair amount of magick to be found. But should magick and its use be limited then even a major metropolis is not likely to have much.

It also depends on what is available in magick and what it can be used for. For the most part the typical RPG limits the use of magick to adventuring and that associated with adventuring. But your preferred system may well allow for the use of magick for daily life.

On p32 of Mythus Magick there is a list of things the magick of Ærth can handle in the area of cooking and food preparation. Under the “Bs” you have “bouquet and blend”, which are concerned respectively with the aroma or air of a product (most likely a wine) or the mixing of items together in a recipe to produce a desired result. Now these are matters that could be handled by ordinary skill, but with magick you can insure that you get the result you want, and may be able to blend ingredients that don’t ordinarily lend themselves to blending.

A village in your setting may have a reputation for the meals produced at a particular tavern, and all because the cook has talent in cooking magick. Or an inn in an otherwise disreputable neighborhood in a port town could be known for the cleanliness of its accommodations thanks to the dweomercræft of the chief maid.

Just keep in mind that in the typical adventure guide, Chivalry and Sorcery for instance, magick is really not going to be anything special. For when we are exposed to a wonder for any length of time we get used to it. As Bob Heinlein once said, “The most ordinary thing in the world is a 90 day wonder on the 91st day.”

So keep that in mind as your lead your players through an adventure, and remember that it is not Flowers of the Mire that are the wonder, but how you present them.

And  before I forget, here a link to the City Builder kickstarter.

I have a Question

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

In her Sasquatch Genome Project Dr. Ketchum claims that the mitochondria found in her sasquatch hair samples is human. Something tells me that her assumption is erroneous. As far as I can see mitochondria really has no reason to evolve, given a consistency in environment. Something tells me that different animals share mitochondrial species, which they inherited from a common ancestor. This would appear to be true of human and sasquatch/yeti in so far as both animals share a common type of environment.

Is there any work out there regarding the inheritance of mitochondria? Are the different species of mitochondria shared among the different species of eukaryote?

Oh Really

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

At the Beginning

In volume 24 #2 of Skeptic there are a pair of essays on the subject of the Christian God and evil. Both depend on an assumption I just can’t agree with. That being that God being all knowing and all powerful means that He has no real limits. To that I say baloney.

On Infinity

Let’s start with the subject of infinity, something we show no real understanding of as far as I can see. The first thing to note about infinity is that it has no limits. That is infinity’s one limit, that it can have none.

Our Universe

Our universe, our reality, in contrast has a ton of them. It has limits we need to deal with, and I suspect that any God we have is going to have limits of his own. He can’t do everything, and He can’t really know everything. He can do and know things in the context of our existence, but that’s not everything in the context of infinity. Nor should He have to.

On the Matter of Us

And we have a role in all of this, inasmuch as we have capabilities which enable us, and make us responsible. We’re not helpless, we can do things. We can be and we are responsible for what happens to us and what we do. We’re not helpless, our arms aren’t broken.

But some of us insist on dumping it all on God. To that I say, “Who died and made you helpless?” We can’t do everything, but we can do enough, and as adult human beings we can do a lot. When we insist that there must be things only God can do we foist off on Him what is our responsibility.

On Evil

Then you have the matter of evil, evil as a thing, an entity, an object. To that idea I say “bullshit”. I don’t see evil as a thing, as an object. I see evil as what we do to each other. Bad things can and do happen to us, but that isn’t evil, just events. Doing evil requires consciousness, and that requires a mind. A wave can do no evil, for it is just an event. A wall collapsing and crushing people is not evil, only an occurrence. Be there any evil in it that would be the evil of the builders doing a piss poor job of building it in the first place. We make peace and create evil and that’s what it comes down to.

On Responsibility

We have free will and that means that we are responsible for what happens to us. We refuse to take measures to insure we have better lives we have chosen to let bad things happen when we don’t perform them ourselves. You get right down to it, Shermer and Huffing are full of it, and both can not be called responsible human beings in this area. As far as I can see neither is old enough to handle adult responsibilities.

To Sum Up

There you have my thinking on this matter, we are responsible for what we do to each other and we can not foist this off on anybody else, no matter of puissant He is.

Yesh

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been avoiding this blog, and I owe it to some 5,000 subscribers to write something here. But now, fortunately, I’m getting things dealt with, starting with an exam with my new urologist regarding my kidneys.

My appointment is on August 28th, and just two days after setting it I learned that my clinics insists I get an appointment to have my kidneys dealt with. Such a coincidence. That said, my kidneys are dealt with I’ll have the energy I need to actually do things. Such as post to this blog and get work done on a project or two.

So things are looking up.

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I Was Asked For This

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

David Brin asked me for evidence supporting Bigfoot, specifically genetic. I suspect that he’s looking for the animal’s genome, but the best I can do is to be found at the Sasquatch Genome Project, which provides some information, but not a genome as far as I can see.

Which points out a big problem in something like this, sloppy work. The woman behind this site, Dr. Melba S. Ketchum didn’t do a very good job. She did find genetics and they do point to a currently unknown primate, but I would not call her work organized or finalized.

Now soon after her results were made available to the general public a skeptic had a look at them. I’ve forgotten his name, but I have remembered an observation he made in his report. Namely, that most Bigfoot and (also included) Yeti genetics are also gorilla genetics. Apparently Dr. Ketchum concluded that the Bigfoot is a hybrid of gorilla and human. My conclusion is that bigfoots and humans have a common ancestor with gorillas.

Overall what I’m seeing with Ketchum’s work is her just being incompetent. My recommendations are:

  1. Keep the sasquatch and yeti samples separate. Since they are supposed to be separate species they do need to be evaluated separately. One may be a sub-species of the other, but for the moment let’s keep them segregated.
  2. Remember presentation. Make it easier for the audience to read your work. Organize it and explain.
  3. Don’t jump to conclusions. Ketchum assumed that the sasquatch had to be a mix of ape and human when such an assumption wasn’t necessary. We and bigfoot have an ancestor dating back to before the gorilla. All three it would appear have genes inherited from that ancestor. We are related, but that relation isn’t all that immediate.

I sympathize with Dave, for all too often we get those who insist on being rude and ignoring the need for evidence, and well prepared and presented evidence. Copernicus’ revolution was not all that well supported, allowing his critics to conclude that he was wrong overall. Darwin on the other hand did take the time and effort to support his conclusion, and he still had his deniers. Those of us who have accepted the presence of a bipedal ape in North America need to keep Copernicus and Darwin in mind, and to complete the damn job.

My recommendation is to gather up as much in the way of sasquatch hair as you can, remembering to keep it separate and to test it separately, at least as much as you can. Don’t mush it all up. And when you have results make those results available to all. Finally, get supplies together and head out to bigfoot territory and camp out for a year or two. Be sure to take a good film camera, something to write on, and a friendly dog. Dogs are great at breaking the ice. Above all, be patient, for meeting wild animals is not something that happens overnight.

Most importantly calm down. They’re under enough stress as it is, no sense in you adding to it.

Cognizance

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

It has just occurred to me that what we need to do is to teach our computers how to make choices based on nothing more than what they have before them. Rational or irrational, logical or illogical matters not just so long as they have a choice and they are able to make it.

Our Limitations

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

When you get right down to it the link just below really can’t lead us to true understanding.

Source: Postmodernism – Wikipedia

For we haven’t the ability to truly understand given just how limited we are. We’re just not that smart, nor can we ever be that smart. And it’s not just a matter of how big our brains can get, but in how efficient they can be.

There will always be matters we will never be able to comprehend, and that’s simply the end of the matter. You get right down to it postmodernism is about how we can’t know completely and perfectly considering what we can use to know. To make this simple postmodernism comes down to a matter of doubt, a matter of skepticism. And skepticism can never be a matter of faith or belief for we can never be absolutely right in any sense of the word.

It is never a matter of whether a subject must exist, but a matter of whether it exists or not. And when something does exist it has nothing to say about us as human beings. The fact that there are great apes native to North America just is, and what you feel about them doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Hell, as far as I know we may even have a species of hyena native to North America, with nothing that prevents such an animal from existing. Being able to levitate say 3 feet off the ground would make a huge difference in our lives, and change things dramatically.

For what is affects us and can’t help affecting us. Given how rare they would appear to be bigfoots don’t have much affect on us. But should they start to become comfortable associating with us much as bobcats, red foxes, and raccoons have, then our world would dramatically change.

But getting back to the thrust of this post keep in mind that we will never understand perfectly or even totally. There you have my thinking on the matter.

My Understanding?

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

Source: What is Scientism? | American Association for the Advancement of Science

At the link above you will come across a fairly good description of scientism, as the author understands it. You’ll find others and not all will agree with him. I for instance don’t. Not entirely and not as he does.

Scientism is one of those words who’s meaning, who’s description depends a lot on our experience in the subject of science. It depends a lot on how we see science and on how we were taught science to be. For my part I was taught to see science in a certain way, and to apply it in a certain way.

As I see it science isn’t really a thing, but a way of discovering and learning. Science isn’t really about knowledge, but more a way of learning. A way of discovery and how to verify and confirm that what you have learned is true. Science is a matter of faith, faith in our ability to verify and learn, but not faith in science per se, but in how the scientific method can and will lead to learning.

In short science is not a matter of fact, but more a matter in finding out. A matter or learning from observation, trial, and experience what is going on in the world. In a recent photo on the web we saw a raccoon sleeping in a man’s living room. When a commenter said that raccoons are dangerous she was right. But at the same time she neglected to point out that sometimes some animals can be so comfortable around humans they really have no problem with them, and may well come to adopt a particular human as part of his family.

This is where science comes in, for by using science we are able to accept that things don’t have to be the way we were told they should be. That there are things not dreamt of in our philosophy.

As I see it scientism is the belief that we can take the pronouncements of scientists on faith, that they are matters of faith and not to be discounted just because they are matters of revelation and authority. In scientism science consists of a series of hoary old prophets stomping down off a mountain bearing stone tablets bearing the Word of God upon them. As far as I can see scientism is science as religious belief, and that’s not how science works.

And as far as I can see science and the scientific method can be applied to most anything, even things that we assume can’t be, for as we learn of them we will learn just how they could work if they indeed were. For we are an animal that needs to understand, or to think we understand even when our understanding is wrong. For that gives us a basis on which we can learn of our errors and correct them. Science gives us the tools we need to discover and correct our mistakes. Scientism denies us those tools and insists that we take what we know as holy writ. Science is a pair of reading glasses making our world clearer. Scientism is gouging out the eyes because what you see, albeit oh so dimly and blurred, offends you.

So that is my understanding, how I see scientism. My understanding is necessarily blurred, incomplete, but at least it’s a start and one I can improve upon. What is your understanding, can it be improved, and can you let it be improved?

And Then I Learn

Originally published at Mythusmage Today. You can comment here or there.

It’s 78° locally, no wonder I’m about ready to zonk. At least it’s normal for around here.

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