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Trutharchivist

Just an idea for story of mine - mainly magic system

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Hello!

I'm relatively new to the forum, so please let me know if I somehow misunderstood and this isn't the right place for that.

Anyway, I had an idea for a story, only I got a little stuck at some part in the worldbuilding - I'll outline what I already have here. Any help with it will be gladly accepted, but not necessarily applied, of course. BTW, I believe the magic system I thought of could get smoothly with the realmatic theory, but judge for yourself.

The idea is basically about a group of animals of many species that are acting as sort of parasites to the minds of sapient creatures (actually, I also don't know the difference between sapient and sentient, I would like if someone could explain it). those animals - supposed to be creatures like foxes, wolves, bears and such (non mammals are possible) - are taking parts of the human mind to have semi-sapience, specific parts for each animal. The idea is that each species is centered around some idea it represents - so far I thought of Wisdom for owls, Change for foxes (that one's actually is a little weird, I admit), and I guess I can go with royalty or whatever for lions - maybe pride? but I don't really like this idea (and that's why they don't get to be capitalized). They could also do magic related to their Center - like foxes shapeshifting. I actually haven't build it all that much. In the world where those animals live - they're called there "the Biopsyche" (I have a little nicer name for them in my native language, Hebrew, but that's a fine enough translation, I think) by the way - there are groups who hunt them down, mainly a group named Ironrod, after their weapons, that work surprisingly well on Biopsyches. part of the idea is that the Biopsyche as a whole represents representation, and the Ironrod is the lack of thereof. There are also people who believe the Biopsyche aren't truly parasites, and that sapient species can live beside them in symbiosis. all of that is in a universe parallel to ours, and only the Biopsyche can create a portal between universes, though they leave some open.

I'd like to know what you think of this, and which animals you think should be added to the Biopsyche, with which Center and magical abilities. You can also offer alternative ideas to those I've wrote here, and offer a better name to the Biopsyche. Do remember the nature of them when you offer. Biopsyche members have to be: a. a normally not sapient animal, that's b. represents an idea in our world, which would be it's Center and the source of it's magical power.

Thanks for your help and your time.

If it's too long for you and for some reason you expected to see here a tl;dr shortage, I'm sorry, but you won't have any. leave this thread at once, or read this from the beginning to the end even though it's long. thanks again for your time!

Edited by Trutharchivist
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1 hour ago, Trutharchivist said:

(actually, I also don't know the difference between sapient and sentient, I would like if someone could explain it)

Sentience is self-awareness. Sapient is relating to humans [typically used to compare an item's intelligence/self-awareness to a standard human's intelligence/self-awareness]. All animals have some level of sentience. 

Your idea seems fine, though you have to make sure that your animals exemplify the trait they are assigned, not standard animal behavior. For lions, maybe Laziness [they sleep a lot and the females do all the work]. A scavenger could be Survival or Desperation or Analytical-ness or something of that sort [they eat dead things and recognise the utility of the dead things]. Think of human stereotypes for animals, not what animals actually are.

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To further clarify, "sentient" comes from a Latin root meaning "feel," just like "sense." In science fiction, "sentient" is usually used to mean "alive." A computer can demonstrate very sophisticated behaviour, but you wouldn't call it "sentient" until it starts to feel emotions.

"Sapient" comes from the Latin word for "wise." (Homo sapiens means "the wise man.") It refers to person-level intelligence. For example, dogs and cats are most likely sentient, but not sapient. You wouldn't call them sapient until they start doing calculus.

There's a lot of confusion because people often say "sentient" when they mean "sapient." 

These animals sound a lot like spren that bond Radiants; they also gain sapience from bonding a human, and grant magic in return. My advice would be to focus on the story you want to tell, and let that determine how the magic works. For example, if you want to write a story about a war, like The Stormlight Archive, you should probably focus on how different animals fight, and what kinds of combat magic they could bestow. Who are your human characters, and what to the Centers mean to them?

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Thanks for the clarification, at least I used the right word.

On 14.8.2020 at 1:01 AM, Gears said:

Your idea seems fine, though you have to make sure that your animals exemplify the trait they are assigned, not standard animal behavior. For lions, maybe Laziness [they sleep a lot and the females do all the work]. A scavenger could be Survival or Desperation or Analytical-ness or something of that sort [they eat dead things and recognise the utility of the dead things]. Think of human stereotypes for animals, not what animals actually are.

The main idea was what those animals represent for humans. It's close to the idea of human stereotypes for animals, but it's not quite that. A better example than what I've wrote above is foxes and cunnings as their Center, though I prefer change and I think it can work. That's why it's more logical to pull royalty/regalty?/pride for lions, since that what they usually represent in culture. Your idea about scavengers is interesting, though, and might work. thank you!

On 14.8.2020 at 6:59 AM, Yezrien said:

These animals sound a lot like spren that bond Radiants; they also gain sapience from bonding a human, and grant magic in return. My advice would be to focus on the story you want to tell, and let that determine how the magic works. For example, if you want to write a story about a war, like The Stormlight Archive, you should probably focus on how different animals fight, and what kinds of combat magic they could bestow. Who are your human characters, and what to the Centers mean to them?

There are two differences I see: first, they don't bond humans, they do it with multiple humans through their lives. The connection is temporal and is mostly parasitic - it could be like if spren would get sapience once they got the feeling associated with them, for example Cryptics gain sapience whenever they are hearing people lie. Second, the ones who gain magic in the process are the animals. that's makes it way harder to think of them as living in symbiosis with sapient creatures, and that's why even their supporters only say it's possible, not that it is like that right now. Maybe I should change it, because I'm actually more on their side.

I didn't plan an actual story yet, I'm trying to just worldbuild right now, which might be stupid. I'll have to think about it. Part of the idea is that the Biopsyche help people in developing personality by taking parts of their minds - it does sounds a little creepy. maybe I should make it that only children and uncertain minds can give the Biopsyche what they need. Maybe I should also say that the Ironrod and the Biopsyche's supporters on the sapient creatures side are two extreme sides of it. Most of the people that know about the existence of the Biopsyche are mainly afraid of them, and don't know all that much about what's going on. They don't like the Ironrod much, but suffer them because they are their best protection against the Biopsyche. 

I might sort of turn back from the not bonding part, actually. If I will, it might end up awfully similar to the Knights Radiant, though the Centers shouldn't follow the radiant spren exactly, the magic would work differently and will come with a personal cost - parts of your mind, though it would grow back afterwards, it won't be the same. Coming to think of it, maybe it's still to much alike to surgebinding, so I might give up on bonding for the sake of theoretical originality. Sorry for changing my mind multiple times here - I'm just thinking while writing here, and too lazy to rewrite it. 

Edit starts here: since writing this, I evolved the idea a bit. First, it's important to understand that the relationship between the Biopsyche and the sapient creatures is very far from bonding. If the story will be about war, it would be between those sides, not the pro-Biopsyche and the Ironrod sapient creatures. Except from that, I thought of another member in the Biopsyche and his Center, if it interests someone - wolves and Lonings. If you disagree or have more ideas, I'll be happy to hear you. End of Edit.

I'm sorry for all the mess here - as I already wrote, I'm thinking on the page here. Thanks again for your help!

Edited by Trutharchivist
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