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Legate of Mineta

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Posts posted by Legate of Mineta

  1. Rhi;

    "1.  Indigo rose water is used most commonly in drinks and food - you can flavor cakes with the stuff - and also as a personal scent if you're really rich and audacious.

    It's also extremely useful for certain magical potions.  The kind of stuff not taught at the Academy, for obvious reasons.
    2.  Potatoes were a subsistence crop for humanity going all the way back to the time of the Dragons, when they ruled the world entire.  As far as anyone in the Empire is concerned, it is native to the soil, and always has been..."
  2. S & Rhi;

    "1.  For over a thousand years, the Academy's official position has been that it is the first and best school (of magic or otherwise) in the world, and that it's inappropriate to assume that other schools' standards are up to the Academy's own. They might consider the document as a reason to test the Student, but it would not automatically be accepted.

    2.  Yeah.  You won't get arrested for having it, but if found it will be seized by the Guard as potentially hazardous contraband, and questions will be asked about its origins.  (Unsurprisingly, there are families in the local Thieves' Guilds who specialize in the stuff.)"

  3. S and Rhi;

    1.  Students receive basic certification and documentation as a matter of form, and registered copies upon request (for a fee).  :) 

    2.  Any really unfamiliar food would be suspect in a lot of rural communities, and unfamiliar meats would raise eyebrows even in Mineta.  But the closest thing to a substance with a folk association with Gates is “indigo rose water,” reputedly a flavorful and scented liquid taken from a Gates-corrupted flower.  In some stories it was used by Gates-practicing vampires as an ingredient in cakes to entice young children.

    3.  The wizards that practice Gates there are generally insane, reputed to have been driven mad by the magics, or method of casting the magic, it's difficult to know. Suffice to say, they do not serve anything but the (seemingly) incomprehensible whims of their rulers.
    4.  At the risk of drawing an inexact parallel: imagine a wave of modern real-world sociologists pursuing exhaustive models of a competing culture that enjoys a competitive edge by eating its older citizens when the leave the work force.  Massive reduction in medical costs, no need for pension structures, a bias toward monetary fluidity rather than excess saving!
    One could argue the case, if drunk, but the idea is fundamentally unlikely and kind of gross, so it isn’t really likely to catch on.
    That’s the kind of official bias you see against Gates magic.  Certain fields of study and speculation just don’t seem credible.
  4. Mary Sue;

    If it's before the infection, it's probably safe- here's the trouble: there's no fixed pattern, but I'd try to avoid anything that is changing Skill Steps- we have some evidence is related to that (but not always). Y2 avoids this issue, but there's no clear fix for Y1. :(

  5. Rhi;

    "Minetan religion is more occupied with properly performing rites than with strict adherence to correct belief.  "Blasphemy," then, is probably best thought of as a willful action that goes against and/or interferes with correct ritual procedure, or that threatens the upkeep of shrines and temples (including what we would consider "vandalism").
    That said, the "penalty" for blasphemy is generally going to be some kind of ritual purification and act(s) of penance that reinforces or serves the rites.  You're not likely to get locked up or killed unless you take your approach to nonconformity into outright violence.
    You can face all kinds of social sanctions for casual blasphemy, of course.  If you go to a dinner party and shout about which of the New Gods enjoys intimate relations with barnyard animals you're going to stop getting invited to dinner parties.  But you're unlikely to face criminal penalties unless you're really unlucky or so disruptive you're seen as either a threat to the public good - kind of like shouting "fire" in a crowded theater - or a foreign agent.
    There are some clear exceptions related to certain aspects of orthodoxy, such as Dragons, of course."
  6. And now:

    "1.  Yes.  It's likely quite unsettling when the Shade itself is basically invisible.

    2.  Yes, though they're not always as effective as their creators might like.  There are actually several around the Academy grounds - including some rather prominent ones at the Vernin towers.

    3.  If you were to come upon a Gates manuscript featuring border art involving a woman holding a wand shaped like a tuning fork, or even a pitchfork, that would be Aminþia Que’la.  There were a number of oral traditions that suggested that the magic she worked caused the head of her wand to split and branch - or to become corrupted in various other ways.

    4.  If recognized, it would be grounds for interrogation, at the very least.

    5.  Generally speaking, there's enough secrecy around one's studies at Schohanwicht that nobody would know you didn't do the special summoning if you didn't make a point of advertizing it.  Therefore, not really a big deal.

    That said, we're not going to get exactly into why Black Sheep parents might want their kids to pursue Gates studies, but they might indeed be slightly happier if you can say you've done a special summoning and could do it again under the right circumstances.  If only because it would improve your odds for long-term success/survival."

  7. Rhi;

    "1.  Depends on the familiar.  Unless you got Pamela - or, y'know, Mr. Pebbles - it's entirely possible you've heard no "talking" at all in Y1.  You may never.

    Moreover, it's extremely likely you've never heard another student's familiar speak.
    Traditionally, though, if a mage is communicating with a creature that doesn't have a humanoid larynx (or can't fake it), it's a telepathic/empathic line of contact over the Bond.  Silent to outsiders, but sometimes with echoing body language to suggest the contact is ongoing.
    2.  Some people, if they really listen, can hear actual words.  And the horror of it is, the more they hear the harder it is to tune him out afterwards.
    For others, it's like a pre-verbal toddler.  Just incessant "Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba!"
    3.  Multiple levels to this one.  Yes, there are spells that purportedly let a third-party wizard "overhear" conversations conveyed via the Bond.  They're all considered Mastery, though.
    There are also spells that translate non-human vocalized speech.  If, say, Sheary's dog barks a message that Lambert has fallen down a well, a prepared mage can overhear it and understand - and that's totally legal.
    And, lastly, there are spells that allow a wizard to communicate with another wizard's familiar by way of a kind of pseudo-Bond; veterinarians find it useful, though it's extremely difficult to master.  That said, it's generally only legal if used with the consent of the familiar's wizard."
  8. OK, answers!


    "It varies from mercenary company to mercenary company, but most do consider themselves qualitatively better than pirates.  They generally claim to honor their contracts and to adhere to recognized rules of warfare, which to their minds gives them an ethical foundation that pirate bands lack.

    (The view is somewhat complicated by the fact that most of the major merc companies have long and storied histories of breaking contracts more or less at will when better offers come along, but they don't focus on those... discrepancies when making their cases.)
    It's worth noting that aristocratic society broadly agrees.  There are plenty of cases of mercenaries marrying into noble families in exchange for exceptional service (i.e., if they capture and control useful towns), and that's generally not done with out-and-out pirates.  The cynical might say that the main difference is which parties one gets invited to between raids, but it is what it is."

    "1.  Let's just say that Catherine, Flore and Durand (who between them know quite a lot about the heights of power in Mineta and in the Merilien north) would all say that it's extremely likely that such caches exist - but, if so, they certainly aren't public knowledge.

    2.  You're about half-right.  It's perfectly legal for a Negation lecturer to teach techniques that manipulate local ley lines in ways that would make creating gates more difficult - that doesn't require or convey any detailed Gates knowledge, just general magical theory and application.  Similarly, Astrological techniques meant to attune a subject to his/her/their guiding stars tend also to be very good at breaking some Mastery effects, but that doesn't make them legally suspect.

    But, yeah, classes that teach you how to recognize and counter specific Mastery/Gates phemes or spells could only be taught in Mineta with specific dispensation from the Captain.
    3.  Yeah, absolutely."
    "Oh, yeah.  Even at the Academy, a solid majority of the profs wouldn't call Rixenda's work "art."  She's even had some demoralizing conversations with Piaxenza - despite the fact that he isn't her Regent or an art teacher - about "taking art seriously," just because he fears she reflects badly on the school."
    And for Yuri:
    "I'd say that the Stranger figures no more directly in Minetan religious lore than, say, Baal in the Bible; he's not much discussed and he's not well understood.  He's known mostly for his most terrible work, bringing the Dragons - though there are some influential treatises (ex., Rudovici's On the Harmony of Spheres) that argue that he created Gates magic more generally to corrupt just societies from within.  If he ever had major cults, either during or before the time of the Dragons, it's fair to say that the New Gods and the early Empire wiped them pretty decisively from the face of the known world."
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