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Old 11-27-2020, 03:06 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

While street children are not useful for much in the labor market, they are sources of FP, meaning that street children could be hired for a fee to participate in ceremonial magic. They could easily provide 48 FP/day, meaning that they could earn $24/day at a rate of $0.5/FP, allowing them to support a Status-1 lifestyle with 15 days of work per month. As they would be able to support themselves in some small comfort, this would make them contributing members of society.

Have you ever had mages in your settings use street children as assistants in ceremonial magic? If so, how did it work out? If not, what is the reason for avoiding a potentially productive source of energy (especially since providing FP would be a lot better than the other forms of potential employment for many of them?
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:26 PM   #2
Plane
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
what is the reason for avoiding a potentially productive source of energy (especially since providing FP would be a lot better than the other forms of potential employment for many of them?
I wonder if it's possible many might have an inborne fear of magic that might lead to occasionally oppose these ceremonies and cancel out 5 contributors?
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Old 11-27-2020, 03:33 PM   #3
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
While street children are not useful for much in the labor market, they are sources of FP, meaning that street children could be hired for a fee to participate in ceremonial magic. They could easily provide 48 FP/day, meaning that they could earn $24/day at a rate of $0.5/FP, allowing them to support a Status-1 lifestyle with 15 days of work per month. As they would be able to support themselves in some small comfort, this would make them contributing members of society.

Have you ever had mages in your settings use street children as assistants in ceremonial magic? If so, how did it work out? If not, what is the reason for avoiding a potentially productive source of energy (especially since providing FP would be a lot better than the other forms of potential employment for many of them?
Heh, Lord Varys ... we have a call from Myr for you, shall we put him through? I seem to recall there was a bit in basic about using huge assemblies of people in ritual magic and it being ... tricky. Probably depends on how tricky it is to contribute FP to ceremonial magic - if it requires talent, literacy or concentration you may have problems. Granted the pay will be an important motivation, but based on experience, training volunteer modern kids with a decent education to take relatively simple roles in a show is hard enough in its own right.

Realistically, "street kids" are probably what ceremonial magic mooks are before they become temple acolytes, cultists or whatever... they then get filtered and trained. And probably washed somewhere along the way as well.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

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Realistically, "street kids" are probably what ceremonial magic mooks are before they become temple acolytes, cultists or whatever... they then get filtered and trained. And probably washed somewhere along the way as well.
Also, some of them are found to be mages, and a smaller number to be high-potential mages, and thus they become students and apprentices. Could be a useful backstory.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:47 AM   #5
transmetahuman
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

Might be motivation for a mage, or mages, to sponsor one or more orphanages back in the Victorian/Dickensian days. Probably with an adult to keep them in line (and no doubt exploit the situation and the children somehow).
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Old 11-28-2020, 02:17 AM   #6
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

I tend to assume that ceremonial magic assistants should have more than purely pecuniary motivations. Otherwise they'll just go through the motions.
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Old 11-28-2020, 02:44 AM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

The assumptions behind the ceremonial functions of Agrarian Magic in Fantasy are purely pecuniary, as the livelihood of the peasants depend on the success of their crops. Anyway, children can be quite devoted to an idea when it is presented in the right fashion. If you have a street child who risked death, exploitation, and/or violation on a daily basis, they would likely be ferociously loyal to any organization who provided them with a safe place to sleep, three meals a day, and some spending money. As long as the organization did not put them under the supervision of a predator, they would likely be quite willing to chant for six hours a day, five days a week.

Of course, a fantasy society where street children provided a valuable service rather than serving as a pool of victims for perverts would likely be a much better society than what existed in our past. For ecample, if they were helping a mage with Shape Earth-15, they could easily move 600 cubic yards of hard earth in an hour (doing the equivalent work of 810 ST 10 men, 405 with picks and 405 with shovels). Since the men could be occupied with more productive pursuits, the children would not only be doing the work of eight men each, they would be improving the economy overall.
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Old 11-28-2020, 12:50 PM   #8
Plane
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
The assumptions behind the ceremonial functions of Agrarian Magic in Fantasy are purely pecuniary, as the livelihood of the peasants depend on the success of their crops.

Anyway, children can be quite devoted to an idea when it is presented in the right fashion. If you have a street child who risked death, exploitation, and/or violation on a daily basis, they would likely be ferociously loyal to any organization who provided them with a safe place to sleep, three meals a day, and some spending money. As long as the organization did not put them under the supervision of a predator, they would likely be quite willing to chant for six hours a day, five days a week.

Of course, a fantasy society where street children provided a valuable service rather than serving as a pool of victims for perverts would likely be a much better society than what existed in our past. For ecample, if they were helping a mage with Shape Earth-15, they could easily move 600 cubic yards of hard earth in an hour (doing the equivalent work of 810 ST 10 men, 405 with picks and 405 with shovels). Since the men could be occupied with more productive pursuits, the children would not only be doing the work of eight men each, they would be improving the economy overall.
To mitigate this it makes me wonder if we should add some extra stepping stones to contributing FP to ceremonial magic to make it harder.

Particularly for those of low IQ...

Like what if for example it requires a successful Thaumatology check to contribute the 1 FP? In fairness maybe that could apply to "Opposing Spectator" spending 5 FP (or is it 1 FP?) to cancel out 5 energy too?

This would also explain why those lacking a default in Thaumatology couldn't help at all: they don't believe in magic so going through the motions wouldn't help.

You could also have those who are Incompetent at Thaumatology (default is IQ minus 10) being particularly bad at doing it: not impossible like the no-default guys, but enough that they're going to fail pretty often.

Would be interesting to think about what sort of modifiers could apply to such a roll. I like the idea of Equipment Modifiers applying to spellcasting (a less extreme application of "Magic Ingredients" : just -5 to cast w/o them instead of utter inability to cast) so perhaps you'd need an extra set of magic ingredients for every participant in the ritual or else the -5 applies to their Thaumatology check too? IE whether or not you are "holding candles" as in the M12 example.

It mentions them chanting, so the "Alternate Magic Ritual" (M9) penalties could make sense for the Thaumatology check too: -2 if they're only chanting softly, -4 if they're not chanting at all (purely spectating). If we assume willing assistants are doing feet/hand motions then penalties for omitting those could also make it harder.

We might also use "time spent" penalties. If the default assumption is that they're participating during the entire x10 casting period, then you could apply a -9 if they're only participating during 10% of the ritual casting, as children might be prone to doing (especially for longer ritual) being easily distracted, and would have a lower Will (resulting from their lower IQ) to keep focused despite a distraction.

M7's "or otherwise distracted" seems kinda open-ended, I'm not sure what variety of things would qualify for these will checks. Like would passing a Sense roll for anything not part of the ritual qualify? Like if you hear an owl hooting, or see an owl's shadow flying overhead? Or even notice another participant losing THEIR concentration? Distraction can be contagious!

Maybe it doesn't even need to be external, maybe the members of the ceremony can distract from the ceremony too?

Something like a teen street boy thinking "this teen street girl I have a crush on is busy looking at her candle so I can take this opportunity to look at her pretty face without being noticed" could also be a distraction, come to think of it.

That's one of several good reasons you could have investing in and requiring the wearing of masks and non-hugging uniforms that hide shapeliness, so some members don't serve as distracting eye-candy to other members when they should be focusing on the ceremony. If everyone looks the same (non-unique) looking at them would be less interesting.

Of course, if you happen to know the pretty girl is standing next to you in the ceremonial circle and the ritual calls for you to hold hands with her... then you might need more than a mask/costume to prevent your focus from wandering! Or... you can smell that nice shampoo she uses wafting through the holes in the bear skull she's wearing as a helmet... it's intoxicating!

Drugging participants in a ritual could have the benefit of dulling their senses (less prone to distraction) with the drawback of penalizing their skill check, so it might be wise or unwise depending on how many distractions you expect. The ideal would be to dull senses (except as it pertains to conducting the ceremony) without compromising IQ.

Helmets that restrict field of vision (tunnel vision) sound good since then you could focus on the middle of your circle (prob where caster or subject is) and not on people to the left/right of you.

A side benefit to loud chanting could be that you also drown non-ceremony noises that could be more distracting if you were only doing soft chanting or no chanting at all.

That could also be a benefit to using components like smelly oils since you would focus on that element of the ceremony and be less perceptive of subtle things that might otherwise draw your attention in absence of that overwhelming smell.

The adrenaline from jumping up and down as part of a ritual dance might make you less perceptive to feeling the prickly sensation that alerts you to a mosquito sucking your blood... and indeed you're probably less likely to get bit on the leg by a mosquito if your legs are flailing through the air!

Mosquitos should totally get a speed-based penalty of some kind to land on (grapple?) you if you're moving (running/fighting/dancing) vs sitting/standing immobile and some chance of getting passively shook off even if you're unaware of their presence to "Break Free" intentionally as an attack against them.
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Old 11-28-2020, 01:02 PM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

Why would you want to mitigate it? Is there any particular reason to make ceremonial magic harder?
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Old 11-28-2020, 02:01 PM   #10
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Using street children in ceremonial magic [Magic/Thaumatology]

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
The assumptions behind the ceremonial functions of Agrarian Magic in Fantasy are purely pecuniary, as the livelihood of the peasants depend on the success of their crops.
Yes, but there they have a stake in the success of the ritual. They actually care about its success. Not just showing up to earn a penny.
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