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Old 09-19-2019, 12:06 AM   #21
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: Magic and Hard SF

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Depends on the rules the magic follows and the origin of the study. Plenty of magical theories are rigorous enough to allow scientific study other than the minor problem that they don't actually work.
One problem with the scientific study of magic is that by its very nature (at least when we're talking about spirits, which is what most real-world magical traditions do), is that you can't count on it to behave the same in and out of a controlled experiment, because you're dealing with intelligence. So a failure of the experiment can mean the theory is bogus...or it can mean that the spirit-entities don't want to be studied that way.

When the subject of study is conscious and aware of being studied, that makes study fraught.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:20 AM   #22
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Default Re: Magic and Hard SF

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One problem with the scientific study of magic is that by its very nature (at least when we're talking about spirits, which is what most real-world magical traditions do), is that you can't count on it to behave the same in and out of a controlled experiment, because you're dealing with intelligence.
Eh, either you study the way the spirits do it (presumably it's not intelligence all the way down, so at some point there's a non-sentient process you can study), or you're dealing with a social science (which does certainly tend towards less rigorous results than harder sciences, but is not entirely impervious to study).
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:51 AM   #23
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I chose spell magic because it fits with the way I conceive of ki manipulation working at this point: lots of engineering, not much science. It's all cut-and-try, each technique highly specific, with ki theoreticans still working to get enough information to produce and test actual theories. Of course, this is complicated by the strong subjective component of ki manipulation... and the apparent violation of physics some ki techniques involve.

So far, it's been determined that ki sensitives have a few small structures in their brains that non-sensitives lack, but the genetics are unclear at best, if it's even genetic. The Imperial Family (Empress, Consort, their children) are all powerful sensitives, which strongly suggests a genetic or epigenetic origin to the ability.

Where ki comes from is currently undefined, but not all stars exist within bubbles of it. Of the two hundred human-occupied worlds, the setting world is the only one that orbits such a star. Currently, the only non-hard elements are hyperdrive FTL (which is slow, only five lights) and of course ki.
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:53 AM   #24
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What do you mean by five lights? Do you mean 5c?
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:22 AM   #25
Whitewings
 
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What do you mean by five lights? Do you mean 5c?
That is correct.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:24 AM   #26
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Could you give an example of one thing you'd like Ki to do? That will help us a lot in giving advice.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:37 AM   #27
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5c still means years to get anywhere but next door. In any realistic setting, next door won't have a habitable planet.
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:39 PM   #28
Whitewings
 
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Could you give an example of one thing you'd like Ki to do? That will help us a lot in giving advice.
Well, I have no problem with a ki handler, for example, sealing a door so that it just won't open, or calling up a light, or even bending the elements. I do have a problem with creating intelligent beings, and anything involving ghosts is impossible; you can't influence what doesn't exist. A lot of communication spells and knowledge spells give me difficulties, especially Gift of Letters.
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Old 09-24-2019, 01:17 AM   #29
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In a setting I'm working on, the setting is TL 12 and mostly hard SF. Magic is possible in some solar systems because some stars' heliopauses are filled with an energy called "ki" in the one system in which it's been discovered. It's a recent discovery, and the only supernatural element is the manipulation of ki. So what spells need to be disallowed? Some are obvious; you can't summon demons when there are no demons to summon, and the same applies to elementals. I'm considering allowing elemental creation, with a duration limit and similar prerequisites to Summon Elemental, but I'm not wedded to the idea.
You could design the elementals with a disadvantage of a very limited lifespan? Or perhaps a dependency on mana?
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:11 AM   #30
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And some kind of limited energy or Fatigue that dwindles over time. That would give a pseudo-scientific feel while also keeping them from hanging around too long.
Oh wait, the Draining disadvantage, but no advantage to repair itself could work.
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