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emerssso

On the Nature of Wands

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I have for some time now been attempting to figure out the exact nature of wands in Academagia. Several items from the body of text from the game suggest that wands aren't nearly as necessary for magic as one might imagine when first playing the game. Initially, the game seems to suggest that wands are necessary for spell-casting, as they are mentioned in many, many instances. However, there are a handful of Events and such that suggest that the wand is really more of a facilitator than a necessary catalyst.

 

First, the manual doesn't mention wands at all. If they were truly necessary, one would think they would be discussed here.

 

Second, an event describes a class lesson in which students are taught to call their wands to their hands. This is done by creating Phemes using hand gestures, rather than drawing them with a wand, as is usually described. The text suggests that this action is quite difficult, but it is certainly possible to do successfully.

 

Third, an event in the kitchens describes the player using the handle of a wooden spoon to inscribe Phemes for a spell, in place of a wand. This suggests that there is nothing innately magical about wands themselves that allow a wizard to cast spells with them.

 

However, the fact that it is possible to purchase more powerful or specialized wands suggests that they do have an at least somewhat active part to take in the casting of spells.

 

This evidence seems to suggest that wands are acting as channels to siphon power from the wizard to his Phemes, and thus to a spell. However, it seems that they are merely a convenience, and that a sufficiently skilled and/or powerful mage should be fully capable of doing without them.

 

Does anyone else have any evidence or insight to contribute? I'd love to read others' thoughts on the matter.

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Emerssso;

 

Great question!

 

You have it mostly correct. Tracing Phemes on your Palette requires a coherer, which, for reasons of convenience, economy and suitability are often wands made of wood. There are many current and historical exceptions to this rule: professional Orthographers use specially made brushes and pens, as do most Enchanters. Revisers often prefer mutable substances in their coherers, such as leather-bound clay rods. Before it was proscribed, practitioners of Gates used spindle-shaped sculptures of stone or sometimes metal for their Spells.

 

It is possible to use your finger, or any object that has a rough 'point', if it is properly prepared by a minor spell. It's not often done this way because an unsuitable coherer makes the tracing of Phemes much more difficult, and usually does not have any residual enchantment that can benefit your Spell.

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I think I have to agree with ya. I reached the same conclusion after doing an event in which I used a random piece of wood to cast a spell.

 

That said I think that only goes for the easy spells. (easy if off course different for everyone. For the headmaster an easy spell would be something you'd probably need 5 wands for.) By using your surplus of magic energy you can easily cast a few spells through normal wood or even without anything to help you.

 

However the way I imagine is that it would be like trying to force electricity through wood. It is possible if you use incredible amounts of it. However if you only run a tiny fraction of that energy through steel or another conductor it will pass through the same amount as the wood which drained much more.

 

So while not necessary a wand acts as a conductor, perhaps even drawing out your magic energy automatically, reducing the amount of energy you need and thus allowing you to cast more often and much stronger spells.

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Wow, excellent!

 

I'm continually amazed by the huge amount of lore and backstory that has gone into Academagia, and piecing together things like this a part of what makes games like this so much fun for me. I really can't wait to see what other things I have yet to discover in this and future years.

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Damnit Legate, stop ruining my theories! :D

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New concept: A character that uses the point of her rapier to draw phemes.

I'm reminded of Hero.

 

"Great calligraphy."

"Great swordsmanship."

 

That was actually going to be the concept for my next character. She would have been learning Calligraphy, Dialetics, and probably Enchanting. She also would have had the famous campaigners background along with Safaviore training.

-J-

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While using a rapier for scribing your phemes is certainly possible, there remain some difficulties involved. Just read the Lore entry "On Large Forms" for one example. And just imagine the kind of control and dexterity (of wrist, mainly) required to trace complex shapes with a two foot long writing instrument.

 

Still, it certainly sounds like a fun idea. I can also see the use of a staff for larger workings, ones where the use of large forms is specifically called for.

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While using a rapier for scribing your phemes is certainly possible, there remain some difficulties involved. Just read the Lore entry "On Large Forms" for one example. And just imagine the kind of control and dexterity (of wrist, mainly) required to trace complex shapes with a two foot long writing instrument.

There comes a point where difficulty is irrelevant and all that matters is how awesome you look while doing it. Even if you fail. At least you fail in style. :lol:

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There comes a point where difficulty is irrelevant and all that matters is how awesome you look while doing it. Even if you fail. At least you fail in style. ;)

 

I live my life according to that sentence.

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New concept: A character that uses the point of her rapier to draw phemes.

 

The non-violent type but poor mage should not be left out, either. Enter:

 

Casting by taco. ("It's beef, guys! And I'm not afraid to use it!")

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Legate might I ask why you have chosen for this approach to magic? While I agree being able to use everything to cast is cooler and more diverse, it kind of brakes with the whole wand thing.

 

In my opinion wands need to have a special place and are not to be substituted by any object lying around. Not only will they lose their value, but also their mental worth. (meaning that the wand will be nothing more then a piece of wood.)

 

While there are countless of books about magic that avoid wands at all, there are also countless that require a wand. There are only very few books that allow both. I think the reason is that wands either need to be special or as I said they lose their value. I mean why buy a wand if you can use the pencil in your pocket?

 

Ok perhaps they don't have the enchantments needed.

 

But let's face it; if people could substitute, wouldn't everyone choose the item that works best for them instead of a standard wand that is rather impractical to carry with you? I mean face it we don't walk around with branches for fun now do we?

 

 

Ok I just realised that was alot darker then I had in my mind. As I am not aversed against the idea of using other things then a wand. However I was wondering about the choice you made, since it is rather... unique in magic settings.

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Vegejor;

 

As I noted above, Wands have advantages of convenience, economy and suitability. There are many reasons a mage would carry a Wand, and many exceptions as to why they would choose another object.

 

As to why this is: it's a consequence of the way magic works in this setting.

 

Make no mistake, though: wands are very powerful, and highly desirable for casting. ;)

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Just a Reallife addition: There are traditions that claim to do magic (wicca comes to mind, but by far not the only one) and they use tools to do so.

In most instances the theory is simple: the object works not as the source of magic but as a focus. Having a quality focus (an enchanted wand) makes magic a lot easier then having an improvised object (the wooden spoon), which in turn is better then having no object at all.

 

The reason as to why certain objects are used and not others have to do with symbolism. Different types of wood have always had associations with different types of magic (go check old celtic/germanic lore), moreso then other materials.

As for the form of a wand, it is perfectly shaped for pointing to things, both for focussing and for directing the energy. Depending on wanted effect, things like daggers (athame), cups and other objects might replace or be used in addition of wands. Especially in larger rituals, one often uses different magical tools. But of course this is all based on the strength of the mage doing it. If you have a strong mage, then he would not be needing all those tools. Although even he might benefit from using them anyway.

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Laclongguan;

 

In this setting magic does not clash with metal, but it's constraints are higher. Some magical traditions, such as Gates, make a great deal of use of metals and stone because of that rigidity. Most wizards avoid metals, though, as it makes things harder- but not impossible.

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Being a dabbler in witchcraft myself, I can tell that there are some traditions where using metal as a focus isn't forbidden. While it is not exactly a rapier per se, it is my firm belief that a rapier would fit the renaissance theme nicely and whatever difficulties might arise from using a rapier is simply offset by "rule of cool".

 

 

for more information on witchcraft and some other traditions "Buckland's Complete Book Of Witchcraft" is a good starting point.

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I think the exact tool that you use for spellcasting is dependent on what you need. Here is my descriptions, they contain unofficial fluff content. :)

 

 

Wands: Cheap and sufficiently durable, these are the standard. Ranges in size and thickness, they are made from all kinds of materials and forged with all kinds of spells. Be it dragon's whiskers, griffin feathers, or fairy dust, you will probably find it in someone's wand at the Academagia. Most prankster students prefer wands that have been halved in length or can fold into itself, so they can be stowed away at a second's notice. Most small wands are known as "snappers" because the user whips out the wand and snaps their wrist to make it extend. Duelists often prefer metallic wands for their general-purpose spellcasting, but are often known for using "preloaded" wands engraved with specific spells that are outside the user's normal ability to use. Such wands are disallowed by Academagia staff due to safety issues, but it has been largely a losing proposition. Due to this, the Academagia has been considering a program of having 4th Year students and above to craft Preloaded wands in order to compete against unsafe preloaded wands.

 

 

Runes, Glyphs, Engravings, Seals, and Etchings: These are the various forms of calligraphy that are created exclusively for magical usage. These often form systems of passing on information or to make markings that lend themselves to safe, yet powerful spellcasting. However, learning these systems in the first place requires extensively learning and understanding in how to use them appropriately. Seals, for example, are used to contain or channel energy, which is often key in trap-making or creating an effective summoning circle. With a good piece of chalk, a pencil, or a stick, you too can create shapes that will perform great magic!...just take care to not spill water on them. Or trip. They are easy to ruin, and that is often why mages craft these shapes into plates of clay, metal, or stone in order to prevent easy tampering.

 

 

Staves: A much longer version of the wand, these are preferred by elder spellcasters because they can support the weight of the user, but they can also be heavily customized. Offering a tremendously greater amount of space, the shaft can be engraved or runed to increase the powers of the staff, and the staff itself can be made of heavier metals or different materials from wands, due to not being concerned about lightness or durability - just by being larger offers a quality of it's own. This makes staves more expensive, but elderly mages often have the coin to compensate. Some staves are outfitted with blades or orbs at the top, which offers increased combat abilities or further improving spellcasting possibilities. An recent innovation from a recent graduate of Academagia allows the top of the stave to be "modular", allowing for the replacement of Orbs or blades by screwing them into or out of the Stave. This reduces the power slightly, but being able to change an aspect of the Stave's properties is invaluable to rich mages, but most of them are uninterested since they can't wrap their head around the idea.

 

 

Orbs: Most often in the form of a "crystal ball", these serve as observational tools first and foremost, but some orbs are designed to have specific crystal formations and to be "grown" into a sphere. By doing so, you can have a fixed and stable platform for one very specific purpose, like a spell. Because these orbs are usually large or hefty, they are stationary. Preferable for any task where you need to command a great deal of power quickly, specifically, and safely.

 

 

Athames, Bolines, & Blades: Pointed objects or those with an edge often work best in magic as a focus, by simply allowing someone to quickly collect energy, and point it somewhere. Wands are pointed for this reason, but knives and spears often worked the best, but spears were too long and knives could easily be used to kill someone without the use of magic. As such, the wand was created. However, some users of magic still rely on small daggers and blades in order to channel magic, or to cut herbs and roots with a Boline. Mages who specialize in Gates or magic that alters reality prefer the Athame, but most other mages prefer the Boline, since the latter is safer to use, and is less likely to be used for assault magic. Some practitioners of Athames and Gates claim that the Athame is symbolic, as it represents "cutting" or "piercing" reality, so it is easier for spellcasters to visualize doing so with an actual blade. Those who have a good imagination and concentration can forgo such focuses entirely, and achieve much more specific effects, like imagining a pair of scissors or a sewing needle to "stitch" reality, in effect repairing it, or closing off a part of it.

 

 

Tomes: Your basic spellbook, they serve as basic formulas for spellcasting for future reference by a compentent mage. However, the better models offer "autocasting" depending on what page is empowered by an energy source. While not as reliable or safe as an specifically made Orb, these pages can be created relatively quickly and be readied for use within a few days, instead of the weeks-months period required for creating a particular orb. Removing an autocasting page from a tome is unadvised, because the spine and cover of the book offers additional focus and support for utilizing spells. However, such tomes have been known to disastrously cast a number of their spells if they have been in disrepair or have been tampered with.

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Remember, these are students. I'm reminded of the Saga of Recluce series, where the black staffers are sent out with their staffs, but the way to actually learn their magic is to eventually get rid of the staff. Spell casting energy in Recluce (and, it sounds like, in Academagia) is innate. It's just that the staff (Wand for us) is the tool. It's fine as a teaching tool, but I can imagine some old guy mentoring an unlearned magician: "Be the Wand! Be the Wand!"

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