Aug 12, 2020 7:19 PM
belmarniss lands on minus
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"Well that's an interesting diagnosis. How so? What are the relevant attributes of divine magic, and what about the rest looks so uncommonly special?"

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"Divine magic on Golarion consists of stuff you ask other entities for. Gods, usually, but also nature abstractly, sometimes non-god outsiders such as demons. I see lots of calling on other entities in here. And it's got a lot of elaborate ritual components - some spells have a little rigmarole or equipment to them, lots require one or two or even three things, but not, uh, six rocks and six candles and rosemary oil. Uh, telekinesis is also any of several spells, not just a thing people have all the time."

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"I suppose that holds together, then, yes. Actually, come to think of it, you implied earlier that your spells have limited uses per day? How's that manage to work?"

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"I can prepare new ones once a day. For my wizard spells, that is. I also have sorcerer spells, which don't need prep and just come back when I sleep."

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"But... why do they have limited uses in this fashion? How? As far as I'm aware, no local magical tradition has ever managed to invent itself a daily usage limit."

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"Divine magic is probably like that for some godly balance of power reasons. Arcane it's a mystery."

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"Hell of a mystery. Well, good luck finding anything useful in the garbage dump that is the local magic system, and at least if you do pick something up you won't have to ration it out like that."

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"I'd like to pick up healing if I can, the divine casters keep shlern krawan imers ipa."

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"I will have to wait until later to find out what the divine casters keep doing unless you feel like pointing at relevant passages in books or perhaps attempting mime."

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Snort. She flips through books more and commandeers a legal pad from the librarian's desk to take notes on.

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Sherlock cheerfully pulls out a few more likely-looking titles and then wanders the shelves retrieving anything that catches his eye as being potentially interesting or informative. After a few minutes, he even comes up with a book that claims to contain information on magical healing, although when he hands it over he warns, "I skimmed the relevant chapter and it looks well shy of being concrete enough to teach you any spells."

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"Lyrnoriz," she comments, as she takes the book.

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"I'll see if I can dig up something slightly more useful." Back to the stacks he goes.

The relevant chapter is indeed light on implementation details, but it does discuss (what the author understands to be) the principles behind magical healing in a fairly lucid and explanatory fashion, much more lucid and explanatory than seems to be the norm for these texts. Apparently, at least in the relevant magical tradition(s), proper healing magic is a subtle and delicate practice which requires long, careful rituals using numerous components customized to the exact ailment one is attempting to cure, and the success rate is imperfect but (and the author seems very proud of this) provided you don't make any truly egregious errors in selecting your candles and censes and crystals and chants, you can be very reliably sure you're not going to make the situation any worse than it already was. (There's a contemptuous aside about quick-and-dirty methods involving much less palatable procedures, such as human or animal sacrifice, which sometimes work just fine but sometimes cause the patient's eyes to melt out of their skull or some other similarly undesirable side effect.)

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Gosh.

She skims the book looking for any particularly efficient-looking methods.

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It's mostly a theoretical text, exploring a series of different branches of magic in order of increasing complexity.

The first chapter, on scrying, actually does start off with a complete description of what it claims is a viable scrying spell: you set a mirror flat on any stable surface in direct unfiltered moonlight, drip three drops of blood onto the glass (source of blood unspecified), take a deep breath and hold it as long as you possibly can, and then chant the name of the person you wish to spy on continuously as you exhale. The author uses this as an example of a spell that fails harmlessly, because while it only works about one time in ten, the rest of the time it does nothing; by contrast, another spell, which the author declines to describe in enough detail to allow a reader to try it, will work nine times out of ten but the tenth time makes you go blind for an hour.

The second chapter deals with curses, the third with "luck, love, and other follies", healing is fourth, the fifth is countercurses, sixth is wards, and the seventh is simply called "Bargains".

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That scrying spell sounds a lot faster than the usual one even if you have to do it thirty times to get a result. She copies it over out of the book and flips to healing.

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None of the healing spells mentioned are described in a usable amount of detail, although it's possible that if she carefully went over all the details the book does offer she could piece together enough of a system to derive some of the rest by experimentation; it's full of tidbits like "while of course the clearest quartzes are the most effective against infectious disease, it's possible to compensate for a cloudy specimen by increasing the purity of the silver in the rest of the array" and "most of the time, colour is more important in a candle than exact material, but for especially tricky operations like healing a severe physical injury, a solid unscented wax can make the difference between success and failure".

Sherlock comes back with a second book that mentions healing magic. This one is primarily focused on comparing and contrasting spells that call on gods or demons with spells that don't; he's bookmarked the three places where the spell in question is a healing spell and not, say, a curse for turning your enemy into a rat.

First case: speeding recovery from minor injuries such as bruises and small cuts. Here are three different spells Belmarniss would classify as divine, each calling on a specific entity using a specific formula, and four spells she would classify as weird niche bullshit, each using a different method from the rest. One involves a complex dance (not fully described) done while singing a song (only partially transcribed) in an ancient demonic tongue; one involves having the injured person write the location and nature of the injury down on seventeen identical slips of paper, folding each paper up in a different specific pattern (not fully described), and then dumping them all simultaneously into a fire; one involves an arrangement of crystals and candles that might or might not belong to the same system as the one described in the theory text, described in only somewhat more detail than the theory text tends to offer; and the last involves animal sacrifice, and makes no mention of side effects.

Second case: curing serious injury. Two divine spells, two non-divine. One of the latter is another animal sacrifice ritual, and not described well enough to replicate; the other requires a pre-enchanted artifact and does not describe how to make one, but does caution that the ritual will "use up" one of the amulet's seven rubies.

Third case: curing disease. Three divine spells, two non-divine. The description of the first non-divine spell admits that its primary use case is reversing magical plagues caused by the caster, and it's much worse at handling any other sort of problem, which is a pity because all you have to do is paint some runes on yourself and then chant a few things; the second is a cure for the common cold, accomplished by burning a dead bird in a fire ("any bird will do, including one that was dead when you found it, but it must not be plucked or cooked beforehand") until nothing remains but bones and then grinding the bones into a powder and sprinkling that powder over the patient's body while they are asleep.

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She can kinda see what Sherlock meant about this magic system! Anything else in the weight class of the scry, efficiency-wise, not just healing?

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