Confused

The Magic of Prudence

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A recent Discord discussion about the possible Shard Prudence prompts this post. Brandon said in October 2019 that “Prudence sounds an awful lot like a Shard name. That's some excellent theorizing there.” Prudence is not “Wisdom” or “Ingenuity,” other possible Shards whose names may even have been changed to Prudence. (To me, prudence is an aspect of wisdom, and ingenuity is something else altogether.) This post assumes Brandon settles on Prudence for its specific meaning.

What kind of magic would Prudence offer? Ruin (entropy), Preservation (stasis), and Honor (voluntary bonds between people) provide the templates. Each name is an apt metaphor for the Shard’s underlying magic. Let’s start, then, with the dictionary definitions of prudence:

Quote

1: the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason

2: sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs

3: skill and good judgment in the use of resources

4: caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

[Merriam-Webster online definition.]

Based on those definitions, we might style Prudence the “risk management” Shard. My speculations:

1. Magic users must exercise self-discipline as part of their Initiation. Balance and judgment will be key Cognitive components of the magic.

2. Prudence’s magic users must carefully manage their resources to use the magic effectively.

3. Prudence’s magic will be efficient, with little leakage and a high output-to-input ratio.

4. Prudence’s magic will involve the “accumulation of small advantages.” I envision a magic that builds on itself, turning each earned advantage into a better one.

As metaphor, I see Prudence as a conservative blue chip banker, measuring the risks of taking action against the costs of the action. I contrast this with Endowment, whom I see as the “angel investor” that funds the fledgling Breaths market.

More on Shard Intents

Spoiler

Brandon says all Shards are a mix of their “primal force/fundamental law/something natural” and a “cultural component.” In this post I avoid that distinction, focusing instead on a more general understanding of Prudence’s magic. But I do wonder what scientific principle Prudence metaphorizes. I welcome your suggestions.

I also wonder why everyone seems to ignore Brandon’s distinction between primal force and cultural interpretation. This absence of commentary befuddles me. Why is Shard duality such an unappealing topic? Why does everyone prefer focusing on Shard names and not what the Shards actually do?

I remain Confused...

 

Edited by Confused
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How does Preservation's intent make allomancy?

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22 minutes ago, Frustration said:

How does Preservation's intent make allomancy?

Preservation supplies the Investiture so that the user does not have to change themselves, unlike in Feruchemy (storing your own attributes, weakening yourself) and Hemalurgy (ripping off a chunk of someone's soul and adding that chunk to someone else's soul).

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2 minutes ago, Halyo_Alex said:

Preservation supplies the Investiture so that the user does not have to change themselves, unlike in Feruchemy (storing your own attributes, weakening yourself) and Hemalurgy (ripping off a chunk of someone's soul and adding that chunk to someone else's soul).

If we're going entirely off names you would think Allomancy would be more focused on you know preserving things.

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17 minutes ago, Frustration said:

If we're going entirely off names you would think Allomancy would be more focused on you know preserving things.

Well we shouldn't. Even though Allomancy does "preserve" the spiritweb of the allomancer.

1 hour ago, Confused said:

I guess the "cultural component" for Allomancy is the metal itself? Preservation and Ruin are "blind" to metal (it glows, in their perception), so... Is that it? I dunno. I don't study Realmatics enough to say for sure.

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This is kind of a cop out but I think prudence might avoid making a magic system at all. 

Spoiler

After all think about what previous magic users have done! 

Spoiler

:lol:...

Spoiler

:ph34r:...

 

 

Perhaps it some kind of enhanced ability about banking or insurance?  Perhaps by good diet exercise and wise financial dissensions the investiture or prudence flows into various bloodlines?

In all seriousness I think a magic system of prudence would primarily be about avoiding danger.  You would probably get some version of allomantic bronze and copper.  Lengthy and difficult procedures might give you some kind of feruchemical gold(making it too easy would encourage reckless behavior).  I think their might also be a probabilistic element so no power works 100% of the time but smart people can maximize odds.  I also think this will be an "end negative" system where you steadily loose power over time and can't get it back easily(a little like breath).

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If Prudence was a Shard, and did have a magic system, I'd imagine it would be very much based off of planning ahead or knowing the right time to act.

Here are a couple of different ideas:

-The strength of an action is directly proportional to time. The longer you wait after initiating an action to use it (like drawing an Aon Tia for teleportation but not grabbing hold of it immediately), the more Investiture you can draw upon. So being able to predict how you will need to use the Investiture in the future is important. The most powerful practitioners of this system would be the ones who are best at thinking ahead for what they might need, while also being able to resist the temptation of activating a "spell" too early. This would make for some very interesting fight scenes, with much of the battle either using pre-made spells (or however the magic would manifest), or combatants spending most of the time trying to goad their opponent into using their magic early. There would be a market for unused, incredibly old spells, as those would be stronger. However, one cannot wait for too long. After all, you don't want to send the neighborhood up in flames when you try to light a candle with magic.

-The use of Investiture is prediction based. Drawing upon Prudence's Investiture allows one to gain some knowledge of danger and fortune. Perhaps it would manifest as seeing dangerous things as being a different color, telling people to avoid going near it. This is a weaker idea, and probably won't be the case.

-The magic manifests like how the Returned are believed to have been revived in order to do one particularly vital or important thing, such as how (Warbreaker Spoilers):

Spoiler

Lightsong came back to heal the God King

with each individual being able to use magic exactly one time similar to a Divine Breath. However, once they use it, they're pretty much the exact same as before, just without the ability to use Investiture anymore. This would require each person to be prudent with what they decide to use their one bit of Investiture for. Some people have more Investiture than others, and they are believed to have been born to do great things, while those who were born with less are thought to be less worthy. However, I don't think that this system is likely, as it is too similar to the concept of Divine BioChromatic Breath in terms of world-building and societal implications.

-The ability to use Investiture is limited by capacity and is periodically renewed. In this concept, each person has a certain amount of Investiture that they can hold, like how spheres can hold differing amounts of Stormlight depending on the size of the gems within the glass. At the start of every year (by which I mean, society sets the beginning of the year using this event), everyone's stores of Investiture is replenished. In this way, users of Investiture must make sure that they don't use their powers too often, or else they'll be left powerless until the next year. The most powerful are those that have both great capacity for Investiture and skill in wielding Investiture efficiently.

-People are born with a relatively great amount of Investiture that can be used for magic, but it is not renewed. This would, in my opinion, make for a very interesting social dynamic involving power, as those with high amounts of Investiture are powerful and can probably force their way into positions of power, but the act of using Investiture makes them weaker, and so highly Invested individuals have to find a balance between using Investiture to accomplish some tasks, while finding alternative methods for others. Perhaps rulers would be temporary, with the position belonging to the most powerful/Invested citizen, and changing hands to the next most powerful once the current Ruler has used up their Investiture. Residents of Prudence's Shardworld would have to be careful with what they use their Investiture for, and not waste their power. 

Sorry if this whole thing sounds like the ramblings of an insane person. :)

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I like the ideas everyone’s put forth so far, or extensions of them like a daily (periodic) amount of investiture, and it’s cool to see where other people’s minds go!

My first thought was: magic that gets less powerful the more emotional you are, or the less in control you are. Kind of like how Awakening is linked to perception and cognition and better awakeners are better at imagining what they want their Awakened objects to do and giving commands, better casters in this system would be better at keeping their emotions in check. You could then end up with caster battles that were super inflammatory and all about the caster’s ability to keep their cool under pressure, almost like a rap battle where emotional control is paramount. It’d be cool too to have a magic that was that reliant on perception and the cognitive realm in a new way. I realized as I was writing this that it leans pretty hard on the first definition and might better fit like a shard of Discipline or something but I still think it’s cool and could be a cool idea for a system!

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On 6/4/2020 at 1:27 PM, Frustration said:

How does Preservation's intent make allomancy?

Chaos

Allomancy provides many very dramatic effects, which some have noted is not very much like Preservation. Could you walk me through how Allomancy is of Preservation, though it does dramatic, dynamic things?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the 'basics' of the magic in all of the worlds is that the energy of Shards can fuel all kinds of interactions, not just interactions based on their personality/role. I did this because otherwise, the Magics would all be extremely limited.

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do. So, in Preservation's case, the magic is a gift--allowing a person to preserve their own strength, and rely upon the strength granted by the magic. While Hemalurgy has a huge cost, ending in net entropy.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 (Aug. 31, 2011)

Edited by Eternal Khol
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On 5/6/2020 at 11:55 PM, Eternal Khol said:

Chaos

Allomancy provides many very dramatic effects, which some have noted is not very much like Preservation. Could you walk me through how Allomancy is of Preservation, though it does dramatic, dynamic things?

Brandon Sanderson

One of the 'basics' of the magic in all of the worlds is that the energy of Shards can fuel all kinds of interactions, not just interactions based on their personality/role. I did this because otherwise, the Magics would all be extremely limited.

The 'role' of the Shard has to do with the WAY the magic is obtained, not what it can do. So, in Preservation's case, the magic is a gift--allowing a person to preserve their own strength, and rely upon the strength granted by the magic. While Hemalurgy has a huge cost, ending in net entropy.

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 (Aug. 31, 2011)

So the powers granted by Prudence could have the purpose of making the user more cautios than normal, granting him the chance to walk in all situations as prepared as possible.

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