Why Do So Many People View Science and Magic As Incompatible?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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it is easy to reskin psionics as magic, it could easily be called spirit magic, occult magic or whatever, it is simply magic with a spell point system. and even if you can't detach the mechanics from the name, there was this odd sect of nepalese bhuddists that were allegedly some of the first known psionicists and psionics works well in a far eastern or bhuddist inspired setting, or even in most animistic settings under the reskin of "Spirit Magic"

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MMCJawa wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

The whole 'lightning' thing is if you're trying to get it to flow through unnatural processes, like long copper wires, repeatedly. Natural ores, nervous systems, alchemy and magic would naturally avoid the whole debacle.

AI's that are disrupted by malfunctioning electrical circuits, then spontaneously 'reset' by a magical surge in the wrong way makes for a great reason for spontaneous free will and craziness, too.

==Aelryinth

That's the thing...my group would be like "why are copper wires (a natural element) not natural, but electricity through unprocessed ores works? Why isn't the nervous system effected?"

So no doubt it works for you, but my group would probably just get into a giant philosophical debate over natural vs unnatural, or try to nitpick holes in the situation

Turning something natural into something unnatural has always had an anti-magic shtick to it. That's how the whole trope with Cold Iron and Roman Science vs Celtic Druids and that shtick starts.

Copper is not purified to a pure metal and drawn out to fine wires in nature. It exists in harmony and crystal in the stone. The very thing that lets you call it 'copper' now removes it from Nature and makes it Science.

So, being on the periodic table isn't what does it. It's the 'natural state' which is key. And that's as subjective as you want to make it. Spider silk duplicated by artificial processes will rot and die...it's not natural, the magic isn't clinging to it.

You could say it's the difference between druidic and arcane magic, or alchemy and arcane magic. The former bring out the natural properties of something and give it strength. The latter forces/instills magic into something, even that which would normally not be magical.

==Aelryinth


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Aelryinth wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

The whole 'lightning' thing is if you're trying to get it to flow through unnatural processes, like long copper wires, repeatedly. Natural ores, nervous systems, alchemy and magic would naturally avoid the whole debacle.

AI's that are disrupted by malfunctioning electrical circuits, then spontaneously 'reset' by a magical surge in the wrong way makes for a great reason for spontaneous free will and craziness, too.

==Aelryinth

That's the thing...my group would be like "why are copper wires (a natural element) not natural, but electricity through unprocessed ores works? Why isn't the nervous system effected?"

So no doubt it works for you, but my group would probably just get into a giant philosophical debate over natural vs unnatural, or try to nitpick holes in the situation

Turning something natural into something unnatural has always had an anti-magic shtick to it. That's how the whole trope with Cold Iron and Roman Science vs Celtic Druids and that shtick starts.

Copper is not purified to a pure metal and drawn out to fine wires in nature. It exists in harmony and crystal in the stone. The very thing that lets you call it 'copper' now removes it from Nature and makes it Science.

Actually, copper, like gold, can naturally occur as inclusions ("nuggets") in other rocks, which is one of the reasons that ancient metalworking relied on copper and copper alloys (brass, bronze) before iron was recognized as a stronger and more common metal. The whole "iron vs. magic" (i.e., science vs. nature) arose in large part because iron was not considered a "naturally occurring" metal (requiring smelting and other purification), even though various iron ores were known of (including fool's gold).

[EDIT] Meteorites were one of the main sources of "pure" (actually a naturally formed iron-nickel alloy) iron before the ores were recognized. Which actually added to the "unnatural" mystique, as they fell from the sky.

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Iron occurs in lumps, too, particularly in peat bogs. That's how the first iron swords came about in Europe.

Yet when you mix the iron with a little carbon, they became something more...steel, the original 'cold iron'. The true weapon of science and man.

Lots of things occur in nature. Yet when lifted out of nature and put through a process, they become scientific and technological. Druids and alchemy can work with stuff in a natural state. When you process and refine it, druidism becomes unusable, and alchemy often so, unless its a part of the alchemical process.

So, 'natural state' is the key point. Processing/refining removes the natural state, because that's what is required to push tech forwards.

So, lightning, for instance, would likely follow the path of least resistance if you had natural veins of copper/quartz/gold in the walls around you. If they were wires of copper, the elemental energy, no longer in harmony with the metal, would try to leap free of the confinement, and you'd start frying stuff.

===Aelryinth

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'm surprised that after the thread has gone on this long that nobody has brought up White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension (from their Old World of Darkness). Magic vs Science (actually Magic Users vs the Technocratic Union) was the big thing there.

Probably because this crowd likes answers that are hard coded in RAW, answers to beat your GM with, and that's not how White Wolf's Storyteller system rolls.


LazarX wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'm surprised that after the thread has gone on this long that nobody has brought up White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension (from their Old World of Darkness). Magic vs Science (actually Magic Users vs the Technocratic Union) was the big thing there.

Probably because this crowd likes answers that are hard coded in RAW, answers to beat your GM with, and that's not how White Wolf's Storyteller system rolls.

And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Anzyr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'm surprised that after the thread has gone on this long that nobody has brought up White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension (from their Old World of Darkness). Magic vs Science (actually Magic Users vs the Technocratic Union) was the big thing there.

Probably because this crowd likes answers that are hard coded in RAW, answers to beat your GM with, and that's not how White Wolf's Storyteller system rolls.
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?

There was interest, a lot of interest judging from the attendence at the only public showing that was ever done. The only reason the MMO didn't get off the ground was that IT WAS NEVER DEVELOPED. The 10 year process is a history of development mismangement by the company that Ryan Dancey was working for at the time.


LazarX wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

I'm surprised that after the thread has gone on this long that nobody has brought up White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension (from their Old World of Darkness). Magic vs Science (actually Magic Users vs the Technocratic Union) was the big thing there.

Probably because this crowd likes answers that are hard coded in RAW, answers to beat your GM with, and that's not how White Wolf's Storyteller system rolls.
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
There was interest, a lot of interest judging from the attendence at the only public showing that was ever done. The only reason the MMO didn't get off the ground was that IT WAS NEVER DEVELOPED. The 10 year process is a history of development mismangement by the company that Ryan Dancey was working for at the time.

One succeeded but the other failed. If you want attribute that to the ability to manage a setting by the property owners well... that speaks volumes as well.

Grand Lodge

I would say because people don't want to have to put thought in to how to divide Tech/Magic. To me all the school of magic differ and an anti magic zone shouldn't work for Divine, I wouldn't even call Divine Magic "magic."

Divine Magic should be more like spirituality, not called magic, it just feels like they are lumping it into a pool to save brain power.

Same with Druids, their is nature power.

Arcane is magic because it has always been and always will be.

Psionics isn't magic because it is of the mind, I know that arcane uses the mind but it is more a memory thing that pure will power alone.

Tech can be an entirely different thing because maybe the smart people (with a high int as well) just can't get the way arcane is so steeped in memorizing sigils and in the box thinking. They want to push the boundaries to take away from the power of magic and want to make it so every (wo)man can have the same amount of power.


Magic A is Magic A. The source of the Magic, whether Arcane, Divine, or Psionic doesn't suddenly make it "not Magic".


Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?

It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.


Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.

Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.


Anzyr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
I'm surprised that after the thread has gone on this long that nobody has brought up White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension (from their Old World of Darkness). Magic vs Science (actually Magic Users vs the Technocratic Union) was the big thing there.
Probably because this crowd likes answers that are hard coded in RAW, answers to beat your GM with, and that's not how White Wolf's Storyteller system rolls.
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
There was interest, a lot of interest judging from the attendence at the only public showing that was ever done. The only reason the MMO didn't get off the ground was that IT WAS NEVER DEVELOPED. The 10 year process is a history of development mismangement by the company that Ryan Dancey was working for at the time.
One succeeded but the other failed. If you want attribute that to the ability to manage a setting by the property owners well... that speaks volumes as well.

No, obviously it was the magic system that prevented an MMO. (Actually that could be true. Mage's magic system was so flexible and required so much GM judgment to work that I have no idea how you'd implement on a computer with anything less than a full AI. Which was a good part of what was great about it.)

But what does MMO success have to do with the question at hand?


Anzyr wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.
Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.

"General dislike" for the most popular games of their time.

Sure. You might not like them. They probably cater to a different crowd than the majority here, but that's a long way from "general dislike".


Most popular? Of their time? Citation needed. I'm not saying you are wrong to like it mind you, but it is generally disliked outside it's core players. This is getting off topic though, my point was that the magic tech setting of Eberron was more popular and embraced then the Tech v. Magic angle of Mage.


Anzyr wrote:
Most popular? Of their time? Citation needed. I'm not saying you are wrong to like it mind you, but it is generally disliked outside it's core players. This is getting off topic though, my point was that the magic tech setting of Eberron was more popular and embraced then the Tech v. Magic angle of Mage.

I don't have sales figures at hand, but Vampire especially was wildly popular during the mid/late 90s. Mage not as much, admittedly.

Since that was after 2E had peaked and before 3.0, I'd assume it was the top.

As far as Eberron vs Mage, specifically, there are so many other factors and differences, that I wouldn't ascribe any difference in popularity to the difference in how they handled the relation between magic and tech.


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Referring to the original poster's question:

It's not necessarily "knee-jerk." Some prefer a clear delineation between magic and high technology because it allows for an easier acceptance of the "laws" that will govern a particular cosmology. In addition, if the convention is established from the get-go, it's far less objectionable (though not in the least something in which I'm interested). Springing one on the reader after beginning with the other is a classic bait-and-switch ... practically a betrayal.

Spoiler:
The series that always springs to mind as particularly aggravating on the above score is Anne McCaffrey's Pern. It begins firmly in one corner, and near the end of Book Two (if I'm not mistaken; I haven't read the material in decades) we're informed that ... ahem ... well, I have no desire to ruin the series for anyone, so ... I'll leave off here. I actually recall flinging the book across the room, and never had any desire to return to that series (though I gave it another chance or two over the years, only to find that the direction just wasn't to my taste). (As a matter of fact, an ex of mine who was particularly enamored with her stuff [to the point of writing fan fiction in that universe] considered my dislike of it one of my great flaws as a person.)


Jaelithe wrote:

Referring to the original poster's question:

It's not necessarily "knee-jerk." Some prefer a clear delineation between magic and high technology because it allows for an easier acceptance of the "laws" that will govern a particular cosmology. In addition, if the convention is established from the get-go, it's far less objectionable (though not in the least something in which I'm interested). Springing one on the reader after beginning with the other is a classic bait-and-switch ... practically a betrayal.

** spoiler omitted **

It was actually a fairly common convention in the earlier days of sf/fantasy. Providing SF style explanations for the magic in your fantasy. Ancient alien tech, breeding with psychic alien races, whatever. Note that Pern didn't have any actual magic, or even anything presented as such, just the dragons and bits of psychic powers, basically only enough to communicate with the dragons.

Didn't bother me at all to learn that in Pern. There are other things that bother me about McCaffrey, reading her now.

Darkover could have presented the same difficulties, depending on where you started reading the series. The first written books were set after the planet was contacted by the Terrans, but some of the later ones were set earlier and would have read as pure fantasy if you didn't already know. Psionics instead of magic, but with all the trappings.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
LazarX wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
I'm surprised that after the thread has gone on this long that nobody has brought up White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension (from their Old World of Darkness). Magic vs Science (actually Magic Users vs the Technocratic Union) was the big thing there.
Probably because this crowd likes answers that are hard coded in RAW, answers to beat your GM with, and that's not how White Wolf's Storyteller system rolls.
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
There was interest, a lot of interest judging from the attendence at the only public showing that was ever done. The only reason the MMO didn't get off the ground was that IT WAS NEVER DEVELOPED. The 10 year process is a history of development mismangement by the company that Ryan Dancey was working for at the time.
One succeeded but the other failed. If you want attribute that to the ability to manage a setting by the property owners well... that speaks volumes as well.

No, obviously it was the magic system that prevented an MMO. (Actually that could be true. Mage's magic system was so flexible and required so much GM judgment to work that I have no idea how you'd implement on a computer with anything less than a full AI. Which was a good part of what was great about it.)

But what does MMO success have to do with the question at hand?

Mage's magic system had nothing to do with the MMO, because the MMO was Vampire, not Mage, Not All of Storyteller, but just Vampire as if it were the only game in the Storyteller system. (as the first, it was for awhile) Vampire used no magic system outside of Vampire's blood tricks.


thejeff wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:

Referring to the original poster's question:

It's not necessarily "knee-jerk." Some prefer a clear delineation between magic and high technology because it allows for an easier acceptance of the "laws" that will govern a particular cosmology. In addition, if the convention is established from the get-go, it's far less objectionable (though not in the least something in which I'm interested). Springing one on the reader after beginning with the other is a classic bait-and-switch ... practically a betrayal.

** spoiler omitted **

It was actually a fairly common convention in the earlier days of sf/fantasy. Providing SF style explanations for the magic in your fantasy. Ancient alien tech, breeding with psychic alien races, whatever. Note that Pern didn't have any actual magic, or even anything presented as such, just the dragons and bits of psychic powers, basically only enough to communicate with the dragons.

Didn't bother me at all to learn that in Pern. There are other things that bother me about McCaffrey, reading her now.

Darkover could have presented the same difficulties, depending on where you started reading the series. The first written books were set after the planet was contacted by the Terrans, but some of the later ones were set earlier and would have read as pure fantasy if you didn't already know. Psionics instead of magic, but with all the trappings.

Psionics is magic, though, just using a late 20th century word instead of an ancient one.


thejeff wrote:
It was actually a fairly common convention in the earlier days of sf/fantasy. Providing SF style explanations for the magic in your fantasy. Ancient alien tech, breeding with psychic alien races, whatever.

True.

I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. It was one of the hallmarks of the "Grand Dames of Sci-Fi": McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, CJ Cherryh, et al. It felt and feels like a cheat to me.

thejeff wrote:
Note that Pern didn't have any actual magic, or even anything presented as such, just the dragons and bits of psychic powers, basically only enough to communicate with the dragons.

I did read it, thanks. The clear implication in the first two books, though, was fantasy ... so it's still, in my opinion, not according to Hoyle.

Quote:
Didn't bother me at all to learn that in Pern. There are other things that bother me about McCaffrey, reading her now.

Care to elaborate? Just curious.

Quote:

Darkover could have presented the same difficulties, depending on where you started reading the series. The first written books were set after the planet was contacted by the Terrans, but some of the later ones were set earlier and would have read as pure fantasy if you didn't already know. Psionics instead of magic, but with all the trappings.

It's precisely what kept me away from Darkover all those years ago, and still does. Just not interested.

I have read some MZB, though: Firebrand, The Mists of Avalon, etc.

Frankly, I think she's overrated.

I much prefer authors such as Gillian Bradshaw, Guy Gavriel Kay, Judith Tarr and others who straddle the line between historical fiction and historical fantasy.

To each their own, of course.


JoeJ wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:

Referring to the original poster's question:

It's not necessarily "knee-jerk." Some prefer a clear delineation between magic and high technology because it allows for an easier acceptance of the "laws" that will govern a particular cosmology. In addition, if the convention is established from the get-go, it's far less objectionable (though not in the least something in which I'm interested). Springing one on the reader after beginning with the other is a classic bait-and-switch ... practically a betrayal.

** spoiler omitted **

It was actually a fairly common convention in the earlier days of sf/fantasy. Providing SF style explanations for the magic in your fantasy. Ancient alien tech, breeding with psychic alien races, whatever. Note that Pern didn't have any actual magic, or even anything presented as such, just the dragons and bits of psychic powers, basically only enough to communicate with the dragons.

Didn't bother me at all to learn that in Pern. There are other things that bother me about McCaffrey, reading her now.

Darkover could have presented the same difficulties, depending on where you started reading the series. The first written books were set after the planet was contacted by the Terrans, but some of the later ones were set earlier and would have read as pure fantasy if you didn't already know. Psionics instead of magic, but with all the trappings.

Psionics is magic, though, just using a late 20th century word instead of an ancient one.

But somehow more respectable as an adjunct to science fiction.

There are generally differences in how it's treated though.


thejeff wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Psionics is magic, though, just using a late 20th century word instead of an ancient one.

But somehow more respectable as an adjunct to science fiction.

I'd say it walks in both worlds with equal ease.


Jaelithe wrote:
thejeff wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Psionics is magic, though, just using a late 20th century word instead of an ancient one.

But somehow more respectable as an adjunct to science fiction.

I'd say it walks in both worlds with equal ease.

I agree with this. The words "psi" and "psionic" rub me wrong for any setting earlier than the 1940s, but the concept works fine.


Jaelithe wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It was actually a fairly common convention in the earlier days of sf/fantasy. Providing SF style explanations for the magic in your fantasy. Ancient alien tech, breeding with psychic alien races, whatever.

True.

I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. It was one of the hallmarks of the "Grand Dames of Sci-Fi": McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, CJ Cherryh, et al. It felt and feels like a cheat to me.

thejeff wrote:
Note that Pern didn't have any actual magic, or even anything presented as such, just the dragons and bits of psychic powers, basically only enough to communicate with the dragons.

I did read it, thanks. The clear implication in the first two books, though, was fantasy ... so it's still, in my opinion, not according to Hoyle.

Quote:
Didn't bother me at all to learn that in Pern. There are other things that bother me about McCaffrey, reading her now.

Care to elaborate? Just curious.

Quote:

Darkover could have presented the same difficulties, depending on where you started reading the series. The first written books were set after the planet was contacted by the Terrans, but some of the later ones were set earlier and would have read as pure fantasy if you didn't already know. Psionics instead of magic, but with all the trappings.

It's precisely what kept me away from Darkover all those years ago, and still does. Just not interested.

I have read some MZB, though: Firebrand, The Mists of Avalon, etc.

Frankly, I think she's overrated.

I much prefer authors such as Gillian Bradshaw, Guy Gavriel Kay, Judith Tarr and others who straddle the line between historical fiction and historical fantasy.

To each their own, of course.

Definitely true and a very good thing. Very fond of Kay, though I prefer his more fantasy stuff.

I liked MZB's Darkover books much better than her other stuff. I'm not sure, from what you said, why you'd object: There was no bait and switch, unless you started with one of the handful of wrong books. It was clear from the very first books published in the series what the deal was. And it's a pretty good example of mixing science and "magic".

Cherryh's works are usually strongly one or the other. The only exception that comes to mind is the Gate series. And we're pretty much told the truth about that in the preface.

Edit: Andre Norton does some of the same in Witch World, IIRC. At least at the start taking a science fantasy approach.

McCaffrey:
Reading it now, the scene where F'nor rapes Brekke is pretty hard to take and very much presented as a loving and good thing to do.
I've also read some of her opinions on homosexuals, which were pretty extreme, even for the time.


Jaelithe wrote:
thejeff wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Psionics is magic, though, just using a late 20th century word instead of an ancient one.
But somehow more respectable as an adjunct to science fiction.
I'd say it walks in both worlds with equal ease.

I meant the other way around. If you want a dose of a magic like thing in your science fiction, call it psionics.


thejeff wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:
thejeff wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Psionics is magic, though, just using a late 20th century word instead of an ancient one.
But somehow more respectable as an adjunct to science fiction.
I'd say it walks in both worlds with equal ease.

I meant the other way around. If you want a dose of a magic like thing in your science fiction, call it psionics.

Ah. Got it.


thejeff wrote:
Definitely true and a very good thing. Very fond of Kay, though I prefer his more fantasy stuff.

I wasn't aware he'd written any sci-fi. I've read ... hmm ... A Song for Arbonne, The Last Light of the Sun and The Lions of Al-Rassan. Tried Tigana and it didn't grab me. Read one other set in an ... is-it-T'ang China ... analog? Enjoyed it, as well.

Quote:
I liked MZB's Darkover books much better than her other stuff. I'm not sure, from what you said, why you'd object: There was no bait and switch, unless you started with one of the handful of wrong books. It was clear from the very first books published in the series what the deal was. And it's a pretty good example of mixing science and "magic".

I find highly objectionable the bait-and-switch McCaffrey pulled. I simply dislike the sci-fi/fantasy amalgams that are upfront about it, rather than reviling them.

Quote:
Cherryh's works are usually strongly one or the other. The only exception that comes to mind is the Gate series. And we're pretty much told the truth about that in the preface.

And those are the only Cherryh I've read. Heh.

Quote:
Edit: Andre Norton does some of the same in Witch World, IIRC. At least at the start taking a science fantasy approach.

Norton's was the name that escaped me when I listed the "Grande Dames" above.

Sometimes it's just about the story's feel, I suppose. McCaffrey killed Pern for me with that revelation. It just felt wrong.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Anzyr wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.
Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.

Yes, the game that is purposefully backwards compatible with a previous edition of D&D who's core rules were available for free for anyone to use, advertised itself as a continuation of that game, drew the majority of its initial audience from 3.5 players who wanted an update and not the total rebuild that 4e offered, and offers all of its rules content for free online is doing quite well right now.

Obviously Pathfinder's success is tied directly to the quality of its rules.


Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.
Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.

Yes, the game that is purposefully backwards compatible with a previous edition of D&D who's core rules were available for free for anyone to use, advertised itself as a continuation of that game, drew the majority of its initial audience from 3.5 players who wanted an update and not the total rebuild that 4e offered, and offers all of its rules content for free online is doing quite well right now.

Obviously Pathfinder's success is tied directly to the quality of its rules.

Anyone else could have done that via the OGL. Even White Wolf. So... not sure what your point is? That Paizo is very good at marketing?


Jaelithe wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Definitely true and a very good thing. Very fond of Kay, though I prefer his more fantasy stuff.

I wasn't aware he'd written any sci-fi. I've read ... hmm ... A Song for Arbonne, The Last Light of the Sun and The Lions of Al-Rassan. Tried Tigana and it didn't grab me. Read one other set in an ... is-it-T'ang China ... analog? Enjoyed it, as well.

Quote:
I liked MZB's Darkover books much better than her other stuff. I'm not sure, from what you said, why you'd object: There was no bait and switch, unless you started with one of the handful of wrong books. It was clear from the very first books published in the series what the deal was. And it's a pretty good example of mixing science and "magic".

I find highly objectionable the bait-and-switch McCaffrey pulled. I simply dislike the sci-fi/fantasy amalgams that are upfront about it, rather than reviling them.

Quote:
Cherryh's works are usually strongly one or the other. The only exception that comes to mind is the Gate series. And we're pretty much told the truth about that in the preface.

And those are the only Cherryh I've read. Heh.

Quote:
Edit: Andre Norton does some of the same in Witch World, IIRC. At least at the start taking a science fantasy approach.

Norton's was the name that escaped me when I listed the "Grande Dames" above.

Sometimes it's just about the story's feel, I suppose. McCaffrey killed Pern for me with that revelation. It just felt wrong.

I had to mention Witch World because you're Jaelithe. :)

Kay hasn't written sci-fi. I meant between the more historical fiction and historical fantasy. I loved Fionavar, which isn't historical at all. Couldn't get through Tigana. Wasn't impressed by most of the others you mentioned. Did really like the China one. There's a sequel to it that I need to get.

I see the distinction between feeling betrayed and just not liking the mix.


Anzyr wrote:
Anyone else could have done that via the OGL. Even White Wolf. So... not sure what your point is? That Paizo is very good at marketing?

My point was that when talking about success or word of mouth, you can't separate Pathfinder's success (or much anything really), from D&D. Paizo not a very good retort to the claim that tabletop games are a niche game market, and that the quality of a game's ruleset is not directly tied to the game's success.


thejeff wrote:
Wasn't impressed by most of the others you mentioned.

And those are, to me, his very best work, and some of the best in the history of fantasy.

You never can tell.


Quote:
Why Do So Many People View Science and Magic As Incompatible?

Cause magic do anything except instill interest in science.

Shadow Lodge

Anzyr wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.
Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.

More people are likely to identify the term "Pathfinder" with a movie about a Viking living among Native Americans than with a D&D-knockoff.

And they are a tiny minority compared to the ones who identify it with the SUV.

Pathfinder is doing quite well for itself...IN A TINY NICHE COMMUNITY.

As for Pathfinder Online....well, while it might actually launch, that's not the same thing as being successful. I seriously doubt it ever becomes the next Wold of Warcraft, Everquest, etc. It'll probably be lucky to be the next Secret World - something that a few people play, but not really deserving of the title of massively multiplayer online....more like "pretty big multiplayer online".

Shadow Lodge

WoD is probably at about the same level of mainstream "popularity" as Pathfinder. IE, a tiny niche community knows what it is, and almost everyone else doesn't know...or care.

Both are a MAJOR step down from Dungeons & Dragons.

EDIT: WoD has had a TV show. Call me when Pathfinder gets a TV show.


For me the problem is reliability, even in a world with magic, things need to be logical (within the logic of the world you're playing in).

Technology evolves because of needs.
- We developed cranes because we need to lift heavy loads to high places. In a world with magic we don't have this "presure" because... levitation. :)

- What do I need a car for if I have spells like teleport oder ghostly carriage

Shadowrun circumvented this dilema by bringing in the magic after the big technological discoverys were made and be keeping magic rare (only 5% of the worlds population is magical active).

If you want to take a look at Earthdawn this problem get even clearer. Magical Flying Airship (no need for airplanes), refrigerators/heaters with magic elements (no mundane need for this) etc.

Magic and Technology can merge, but you need a reliable world which are able to explain theese issues.


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Anzyr wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
And probably the reason it wasn't popular enough to get the MMO off the ground. Of course, the magic tech setting Eberron could. Coincidence?
It's almost like tabletop rpgs are a niche community that only has name that resonates in pop culture, and the products released under that umbrella are massively more likely to succeed that the ventures of any other company.
Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.

Yes, the game that is purposefully backwards compatible with a previous edition of D&D who's core rules were available for free for anyone to use, advertised itself as a continuation of that game, drew the majority of its initial audience from 3.5 players who wanted an update and not the total rebuild that 4e offered, and offers all of its rules content for free online is doing quite well right now.

Obviously Pathfinder's success is tied directly to the quality of its rules.

Anyone else could have done that via the OGL. Even White Wolf. So... not sure what your point is? That Paizo is very good at marketing?

Anybody with a chip on their shoulder about Pathfinder being pore popular than their own pet system blames PF's success on "legacy" and "nepotism" for D&D's enormous (?) market-share. This is overblown, as D&D never had that huge a market in the first place and tabletop gaming and gaming in general have been growing and taking in brand-new players (who would be no more shackled to D&D than 3.0 was to 2nd edition) over the years.

The limiting factor of White Wolf is it's strength. All of its settings are basically a metaphor for puberty and adolescent angst. All of its rules are intentionally loose and lacking in mechanics (which are important for a computer-based game) and it's weird connection with catholicism is...what?

Oh, right, getting side-tracked. Point is White Wolf's "magic" is a pretty weird tech/magic dichotomy anyway since the setting happily contradicts itself all the time. They straight-up have a section that says changelings can't work as accountants because it will kill them, and then have a changeling accountant who is sustained by his job. My own problem with White Wolf is I start noticing too many patterns that make the whole thing hard to take. Subtle elitism combined with spastic politics, contradictory setups of "mindless drones" who are still somehow smarter than most of the main characters, hilarious sexual bulimia wherein everyone's obsessed with it but pretending not to be...I could go on but I'm getting side-tracked again.

So yeah, a game centered around (sometimes very awkward) girls and boys fumbling their way into games of political pretend and sex with each other while in costumes doesn't make for high-dollar MMO material because the people playing it won't be in grinding competitions (which is actually psychologically proven to be what the draw is) nor will they be actually seeing each other in person and possibly having sex. So it's not going to sell as an MMO. This is not a bad thing.

Sorry, the above was kinda harsh, I don't HATE Werewolf (or related), I just can't really get into it like the fans.

Silver Crusade

gamer-printer wrote:

Its just the basic concept as magic as tech as described in the free EN Publishing Santiago setting guide for sci-fi PF. I like hard sci-fi non-D&D games too, its just that while there might be some holes, its a lot easier to work with, without having to learn a entirely new system to describe technology versus magic - since I have some system mastery of PF (why work with a different system?) In such a setting all spells are renamed to sound more sci-fi and are called technical procedures, but mechanically works identical to the spells they represent (Dispell Magic is now EMP Burst). Since magic is tech, there is no magic per se, unless you add psionics to represent a non-tech way to replicate extraordinary activities.

Santiago doesn't have a close approximation of the wizard, they have an engineer which is based off alchemist, and other caster conversions, so I wanted to try a make something that works like a wizard, but looks like a computer programmer/hacker with some hi-tech toys.

I've never been a fan of psionics, but in a sci-fi setting it fits.

And yet, this is what I was getting at-- YMMV, but to me, you're not even trying to run science fiction, you're setting up to run a science-fantasy game. The rules just don't make sense if you're trying to apply any understanding about how technology actually works-- and the convoluted explanations don't help. Whatever Santiago is, to me, and I suspect many others, it doesn't even approach being a setting I'd label science fiction. As far as I can tell, it's about as scientific, well, actually it's less... than Star Wars.

Still might make a fun game, and of course it conveniently has the same rules-- just that the way the world works, it completely blows my ability to suspend disbelief and accept that it's "science" as I'd expect from decent science fiction-- on the other hand, it is "Science!" as I'd enjoy reading about in Phil & Kaja Foglio's "Girl Genius".

Silver Crusade

Anzyr wrote:


Pathfinder does quite well for itself. And aren't they going to be launching an MMO in the future? I think this really comes down to general dislike for White Wolf's rules.

Eh. I used to play (and quite enjoyed) several of the lines from the old World of Darkness (Werewolf, Mage and Changeling, mainly). However-- management, as part of the problem?

See, the way White Wolf treated their fans, the way they handled wrapping up and shutting down the World of Darkness, the lines they tried to sell about how it was artistically necessary and of course they weren't just going to start up a new World of Darkness-- and then that's exactly what they did...

I will not spend anything on a White Wolf product again. I will not support what's left of the company, or its heirs. I'm done with their games. And it's not so much that I hate the rules, as it is that I have such contempt now for the people behind them.

I suspect that I am far from the only former fan of White Wolf's games who feels that way. Might explain why many of their endeavors have tanked.

Silver Crusade

Jaelithe wrote:

Referring to the original poster's question:

It's not necessarily "knee-jerk." Some prefer a clear delineation between magic and high technology because it allows for an easier acceptance of the "laws" that will govern a particular cosmology. In addition, if the convention is established from the get-go, it's far less objectionable (though not in the least something in which I'm interested). Springing one on the reader after beginning with the other is a classic bait-and-switch ... practically a betrayal.

** spoiler omitted **

I suppose I need to go back and reread Dragonflight now. I thought there was an introduction even in that book, as well as some other little hints here and there, that let you know there was some old tech/science-fiction (or science fantasy) stuff going on underneath the surface the whole time... so I really didn't feel like it was a betrayal when stuff came right out in the open in Dragonquest. I could be misremembering, of course.

Mind you, nowadays there are a lot of things that bother me about Ms McCaffrey and her writings... but "bait and switch" between fantasy and fantasy mixed with science isn't one of them.

Silver Crusade

thejeff wrote:

Kay hasn't written sci-fi. I meant between the more historical fiction and historical fantasy. I loved Fionavar, which isn't historical at all. Couldn't get through Tigana. Wasn't impressed by most of the others you mentioned. Did really like the China one. There's a sequel to it that I need to get.

I see the distinction between feeling betrayed and just not liking the mix.

The Fionavar tapestry series was extremely heavily based on the mythology of the British Isles (Irish, Welsh, and Saxon for sure, probably drawing on other pieces as well)... maybe not any hardcore history, but Mr Kay was showing his knowledge of history and mythology even in those works. I rather like the books of his that I've read so far-- especially Tigana and Song for Arbonne.


To answer the OP's question: The problem is often implementation.

For example, most people have no idea the history of firearms; when they think of guns in history Europe, they think of flintlocks that used highly-advanced black powder. They don't think of the typical pistol that blacksmiths often used to test full plate with during its existence. They also often don't think about the fact firearms, cannons, and rocket launchers existed in Europe before full plate was even invented.

Yes, rocket launchers. They're actually the oldest known weaponized form of gunpowder. The French troops led by Joan of Arc used rockets against British troops in 1429. Part of what made full plate so effective is that it stood up rather well against gunpowder weapons of the era. (Plate armor's effectiveness against firearms remained high enough that it was used by some military forces in World War 1.)

However, what most people are used to is the idea that these inventions came long after, due to when they gained wide-spread usage and when plate armor began to fade (rifling and newer artillery made full plate impractical). As such, it tends to be depicted this way in some works of fantasy, despite the fact that having someone shoot a knight in armor with a pistol and having it do nothing would be historically accurate.

So, I am really not that big a fan of how Pathfinder handles firearms. It makes them too powerful, which is a mistake that DnD 3E and 3.5E avoided.

Scarab Sages

Tryn wrote:

For me the problem is reliability, even in a world with magic, things need to be logical (within the logic of the world you're playing in).

Technology evolves because of needs.
- We developed cranes because we need to lift heavy loads to high places. In a world with magic we don't have this "presure" because... levitation. :)

- What do I need a car for if I have spells like teleport oder ghostly carriage

Shadowrun circumvented this dilema by bringing in the magic after the big technological discoverys were made and be keeping magic rare (only 5% of the worlds population is magical active).

If you want to take a look at Earthdawn this problem get even clearer. Magical Flying Airship (no need for airplanes), refrigerators/heaters with magic elements (no mundane need for this) etc.

Magic and Technology can merge, but you need a reliable world which are able to explain theese issues.

Thing is though historically speaking things tend not to be so cut and dried there's normally a lot of reasons that combine to make things happen. Things may develop slower in a world with magic but there's still plenty of room even in a pathfinder setting for technology to occur.

1) Religious/ruling power Mistrust/suppression of magic.
2) Need for mass production of things to meet demand.
3) Limited numbers of magic users on a countrywide level prompting less effective solutions.
4) A market in the middle/lower class for "magical" benefits at a much lower price than magic items can be sold for.
5) Concern over disruption (accidentally or on purpose) of solely magically driven items e.g the lightning rail during a really bad thunderstorm accelerates to 900mph and tears off the tracks.
6) Magical experiments discover technogical advances that are magic like e.g. The original silver screen and slowly prompt other related sciences.
7) Magical research by wizards and alchemists is scientific enough that they discover other possibilities that can save their magical power while achieving similar effects, similar to 6 but deliberately driven rather than accidental.
8) Research funded by wealthy individuals who want the benefits that can come from magic but can't wield it themselves and don't trust someone else that much.
9) Research done by some lone crackpot who thinks they can make a non-magical power source and succeed.
10) Research to win a prize I.e.as in our history there were rewards for anyone who could prove psychic powers ones offered for anyone who can come up with a non magical way of doing something as proof of concept.
11) Overuse of magic reduces the amount available in the world and thus weakens wizards and other external arcane source casters.

These are just off the top of my head.


at Senko:
Thats what I mean with "reliable world which are able to explain these issues."

If there are reason to exchange magic with technology it's fine, but if not (and PF is not a system with big magic drawbacks) people will always go the easier road.

To merge science and magic in a setting, you have to make it believable. So no "just because!" reasons. ;)

The Exchange

The rules for "magic" are just a mechanic that describes cool things in the game.

It's the setting itself that determines how those actually come about in the game world.

Maybe it's actually all nanites and magic users know how to manipulate them in certain ways. Most people don't even know nanites exist in the game world, but really high level magic users do. Voila, magic and science together.

Maybe we go back to the sciences that inspired Frankenstein and 40 thousand Leagues under the sea. It's actually all just science being used to create fantastic things that most people think of as magic. Re animation through electricity, damage through chemical reactions.

Maybe it's midichlorians.

Really, the explanation for why it works sets the tone completely. You could quite easily blend magic and science using this rule system


Wrath wrote:
Maybe it's midichlorians.

HERETIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Exchange

Tryn wrote:
Wrath wrote:
Maybe it's midichlorians.
HERETIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My work here is done


....Gremlins!...

Seriously though, I think the separation exits in most circles (though I do enjoy magic steampunk and Shadowrun) because magic is seen as an old age thing, where a lot of science and knowlege was either seen as heretical or magic itself, and technology is seen as a new age thing, where knowledge and science is accepted and constantly sought out for its use and application.

In my opinion, I love the idea of magical technology or technical magic, though I can see why some people don't like their "peas touching their potatoes" so to speak.

...Also:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
- Arthur C. Clarke, Clarke's Three Laws


Arcanic Drake wrote:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

- Arthur C. Clarke, Clarke's Three Laws

But on the other hand:

"Science is a way of talking about the universe in words that bind it to a common reality. Magic is a method of talking to the universe in words that it cannot ignore. The two are rarely compatible." - Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic.

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