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Unethical Astrology


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Something the game points out a few times is that Astrology, as commonly practiced in the setting, has some significant ethical flaws. This ranges from meaningless horoscopes to outright thievery. Verifying the work of an astrologer doesn't require magical skill, even if the astrologer is using magic... but it requires a fairly dramatic research investment. It requires luck, too. If the astrologer operates at the right moments, you'll never be able to reproduce the conditions to prove they did anything wrong. Astrologers have the luck of scoundrels.


Worse, they know it.


One thing that's interestingly unclear is whether astrological spells actually function. Clearly they are spells being cast deliberately, but thematically, most of them are revealing things that already exist... or that would have happened anyways. Sparkling Fields is certainly a real spell: it's a glamour! Light of the Universe is a real spell too. Specifically, it's an Incantation. What about something like Tertoliod's Accuracy? It's monstrously subtle. No flashy, obvious effects. It only takes two phemes, one of which (Unleash) is being used in a bizarre manner, while the other one (Astrology) is likely just as real or fake as astrology itself. Proving the spell is functioning - and that you wouldn't have just succeeded anyways, without it - would be quite a trick. It quite possibly does nothing but reassure its caster.


Spells that are considered Astrology-only tend to interact with relationships. None of them have any effect on those relationships which couldn't be achieved in another manner. Many of them could be duplicated with no magic at all. The remainder are all esconced in the capacities of glamour. This follows a pattern. The spells taught by astrology can, without exception, be duplicated by glamour or incantation. Astrology is at its best not when it achieves unique effects, but when it blends the two. It is not coincidental that Cast Up on High is considered one of the most "undeniable" of Astrology effects, even though it still follows the Glamour and Incantation pattern. It blends them in a way that would be difficult for a pure Glamourist or Incantator.


Is Astrology real in the game's setting? It is very likely. Is someone insane if they think it isn't? Not at all.


The reality of Astrology is disturbing, though. Since the luck of the Astrologer is real, and moreover since luck is something they can manipulate, this poses the question of whether the destiny of all the world can be manipulated. Look at Numerology's Hidden Meaning of Buildings ability. Now imagine with me a numerologist with a grudge, a pile of sandpaper, and some sculpting clay. They could go around sanding down corners and sticking new embellishments to buildings. If they're really canny, they'll learn enough revision to make their alterations look like the way things always were so that other people won't come around and take down the changes. Why would they do this? They can alter destiny that way.


They could ensure the person they have a grudge against will get forgotten about, for instance. With a little skill, this would be a temporary harm to their Glory. With a lot of skill, a permanent one.


It wouldn't work on just anyone. You probably couldn't harm one of your fellow students at the Academagia that way; the connections between the Academagia and their individual destinies are too subtle. Embarrassing one of the professors or taking out a grudge against a shopkeeper is quite in reach. At that, I bet you could change history by minor architectural adjustments to Errus Viada's house. It wouldn't change what really happened, but it might change the way the future remembers it!

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For me its more likely that a Dragon try to get Astrology forbiden as its the magic they cant use. Together with the Mastery and Gates proscribtion the humans should be weakened enough for a dragon to be able to attack sucessfull.


Dragons can't use astrology? Curious. That would make it fairly amazing that they ever took over the world - they must have some way to avoid getting their fates rewoven in unpleasant manners.


Then again, perhaps they don't, and that's why after the First Captivity they never again ruled the world.

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