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I really like the fact that Black Chicken Studios has given Sima Venesico, a mysterious, manipulative student of unknown origins, the name Sima. This name is appropriate for her for three reasons. 1. Its Lack of Definite Origin: Sima is a Chinese, Sanskrit, and Persian name. Since Sima Venesico is of uncertain origins as far as the player knows, this name with multiple possible origins is appropriate. 2. Its Meanings, which are All Appropriate to Sima Venesico: The name Sima has three meanings. a. In Chinese Sima means Controller of Horses, and Sima Venesico is very interested, some might think dangerously interested, in controlling people even when they have been provoked by her - in a way similar to the attitude, some might say, that a a horse-controller feels over horses. b. In Persian, Sima means face or visage - and Sima Venesico certainly has a pretty and distinctive face, which she uses to her advantage in the game. But just as a person should not be assessed by the wise based solely upon his or her face, so Sima Venesico has a mysterious and much deeper background and set of goals than stereotypes about Hedi College and girls in general might suggest. c. In Sanskrit, Sima means boundary - and following Sima Venesico's adventures involves her leading the player character to the boundary of legal and accepted actions and knowledge - and over these boundaries. Now that these meanings have been set out, aspects of Sima Venesico's character become more relevant and interesting. There is a random event in which Sima Venesico claims to be trying to hide a piece of jewelry from her evil uncle. She may be lying or may not...but the Sima Clan of 3rd and 4th century CE China was notorious for its intrafamilial warfare (most notoriously the Eight Kings' Disorder - commonly translated as the War of the Eight Princes). The Sima Clan also usurped power through trickery and deceit and was ruthless in maintaining its grip upon this power - which is a fair way, it seems to me, of describing Sima Venesico within Y1 - and I and @Metis have in our Y2 adventures for her taken those traits and run with them. If Sima Venesico be connected more with the Indian associations of the name Sima, another suggestion arises from her name. During the medieval and Renaissance periods of European history that serve as the inspiration for Academagia (not that I am accusing it of being a generic medieval fantasy world!), the closest contact that most Europeans had with Indians was with Romani people (who are insultingly called Gypsies by the ignorant). Many Romani, due to their nomadic life-style, deep prejudice against them (even unto being executed under the laws of England for the "crime" of being a Romani person), and exotic origins to many Europeans, got involved in disreputable activities such as fortune-telling, entertaining, and most notoriously crime. Sima Vensico, if she be from the Cyvian equivalent of India, could be fulfilling a similar role. Certainly, her training as an actress would fit into the category of a mere entertainer. That having been said, I am confident that Black Chicken Studios, if it go this route, will not fall into racist tropes. Its writers have avoided portraying Malthezar Mhadi in a way that is obviously racist (although others may have different opinions), and goblins are portrayed as fulfilling multiple roles, some of which are law-abiding, during Y1. A question for @Legate of Mineta: Did the team put as much thought into Sima's name as I have? So, any thoughts?
@Legate of Mineta has repeatedly said that in Y2, research will play a larger role. What could that role be? Since the probability of @Legate of Mineta telling us the precise details seems lower than [insert whatever humourous implausibility you want], I thought it interesting to say what the Y2 role of research is likely to be based upon its role in Y1. Research in Y1 may reveal locations, expand attributes, increase subskill maximums, reveal lores, or reveal new spells. This means that in Y2, the radical restructuring of Research probably will not revolve around these rewards. This, however, leaves two ways in which research may grant new rewards during Y2. First, new adventures or adventure options. Second, research could in theory be directly tied to marks in a class. For example, extra credit in a course could be granted for students who research a topic related to a course. My one concern about research in Y2 is how all Y1 research levels - but not the benefits, I hope - will be reset to 0. Might @Legate of Mineta clarify the reset - or anything about this topic?
I and @freespace2dotcom have both been intrigued by hints that the pillars of magic, despite their being taught as different, are at some deeper level unified. For example, incantation and gates magic are both used to summon things where there was once nothing, and revision was originally a subset of glamour. I have, therefore, concluded that an alternative conception of magic may exist. It has three parts. 1. Magic that Alters: To this division would go the entirety of revision and glamor, as well as teleportation spells (which alter the fabric of space time), Mastery (which alters pre-existing minds), astrology spells that actively change the influence that stars have upon events and people, and negation spells that cancel forces such as light and gravity (but not magic!) on the basis that to cancel is a type of alteration. 2. Magic that Creates: To this division would go Incantation, spells that imbue inanimate objects with life, spells that summon life (because while they twist the fabric of space-time, their primary effect is bringing living creatures where there had been none), spells that summon spirits but do not make inanimate matter living, and spells that merely reveal knowledge (so scrying, remote viewing, passive astrological spells, etc.) on the ground that such magic creates in the caster and/or audience knowledge that was not there before. 3. Magic that Affects Magic: This is the trickiest category of magic, but seems to involve magic that is most esoteric and meta-magical (even as it may use skills that non-mages can also use). So principles of how to properly write phemes, principles of how to recite mantras, spells, or dharanis, principles of how to maintain a mind that is focussed enough to use magic well would fit under this category. Also within this category would be negation spells that dispel magic, enchantment/artificing (as the pillar that extends the duration of magical spells and binds magic to certain items), wards that confine or repel various types of magic, and how to discover analyze phemes, and use phemes, either alone or in combination with other phemes. Obviously, this three-fold division of spells has many problems, both as a basis for a game (too broad – and of radically differing power levels) and as the basis for teaching magic (scholars and teachers would need to know so many more spells in order to be masters of a category than a pillar). Still, as a metaphysical categorization based upon effects, I think that my system is interesting. Does anyone have any feedback about it?