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Old 06-06-2019, 12:08 PM   #21
Black Leviathan
 
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

Proper names are so much cooler;

The Sky Tear
The God Stone
The Eye of Molloc
Kali's Heart
Hartil's Destroyificator
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:14 PM   #22
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

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Originally Posted by Engurrand View Post
I'm looking for traditional/mystical/theological names for what GURPS calls powerstones.

I find myself consistently needing to come up with names for things that store mana/rpm energy/fp for use in magic. Sometimes 'powerstone' is fine but I keep wondering if the idea of a powerstone is really so recent that we don't have ancient words for it?

The spiritual energy which powers magic is a concept familiar to mysticism since ancient times. It's been called jeeva, anima, spiritus, breath, chi or ki, shakti, just off the top of my head. Thaumatology is helpful here, with a variety of traditions described in various ways, but the sections on powerstones doesn't help me.

I've been scouring my brains and books of lore and failing to come up with anything at all, which makes me feel like I must be missing something obvious.

Ideas?
Historically the closest thing to a reservoir of magic that was actually conceived of was "relic" and that was more relevant to sanctity based magic. Even new age crystal power conceives of the crystals more as a lens than a battery.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:34 PM   #23
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

Just thought of a cool one:
The seripigari shamans of the Matsigenka people of Peru maintain a contract of friendship with a spirit being called a saangarite. The friendship is established and maintained through the discovery and cultivation of a stone called a Serepitontsi stone, which is a particular translucent blue stone with indentations resembling a human face, found beside rivers. The seripigari feeds the serepitontsi stone tobacco juice until the stone (and thus, the conduit to the spirit) becomes powerful. Then the seripigari evokes the spirit friend to perform healing (edit: various rituals, not necessarily healing), which taxes their bond. The stone must then be recharged with tobacco juice. Side Note: the tobacco juice is believed to, in general, strengthen the bonds of kinship by invoking cosmic forces. It's also used in diplomatic overtures. So feeding the stone is essentially super-charged diplomacy, and the other rituals surrounding the maintenance of a friendship with the saangarite spirits are also practices adopted to mitigate differences between the species and enhance similarities; in other words, good diplomacy.

This provides a construct for a form of powerstone which only recharges by some contracted behavior [special recharge] because the stone is a diplomatic conduit. Access to the powerstone's reservoir might require a pact disadvantage.

Edit: source: Rosengren, D. (2006), Transdimensional relations: on human‐spirit interaction in the Amazon. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 12: 803-816. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9655.2006.00364.x
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Last edited by Engurrand; 06-06-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:13 PM   #24
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

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The anthropological papers I've found describing charm stones, charmstones, painted pebbles and such does not offer much in the way of indigenous vocabulary, which is a big oversight - I strongly suspect subtly of definition is lost in rebranding everything a under modernized headings.
I would suggest following an older academic practice and come up with a Latin compound (or a Greek one) that translates "charm stone" or "magic stone."
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:35 PM   #25
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

I was under the impression that Powerstones were a modern concept, anlogus to an electrical battery. I'm not sure any ancient myths and legends had anything that could be called a Powerstone.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:48 PM   #26
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I was under the impression that Powerstones were a modern concept, anlogus to an electrical battery. I'm not sure any ancient myths and legends had anything that could be called a Powerstone.
In general, that's true. But "magic stone" is an older idea. Medieval writers on magic were big on the idea that various metals and minerals were attuned to the planets or constellations and could do specific things based on that. In a lot of texts those capabilities were called "virtues."
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:48 PM   #27
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
come up with a Latin compound (or a Greek one) that translates "charm stone" or "magic stone."
Probably too familiar to modern players thanks to the many Latin and Greek roots in modern English. "Magicae lapis" or "magiki petra" aren't going to seem all exotic and cool and arcane -- more so if those are supposed to be terms from an in-setting language.

Naming individual stones is good. That always gives a magic item more character, even if it's just a "+1 sword". Also suggests that they're unusual, as opposed to routine dime-store supplies that mages buy by the dozen.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:51 AM   #28
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

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Probably too familiar to modern players thanks to the many Latin and Greek roots in modern English. "Magicae lapis" or "magiki petra" aren't going to seem all exotic and cool and arcane -- more so if those are supposed to be terms from an in-setting language.[...]
While direct translations to latin might not be so great, going for different variants on the idea can work. For example, the stone is really a container in this case, so how about using other types of container names: "power chest" is "pectore virtus". Or you could go with other names for stone: "rock of energy" is "de industria petram".
Alternately, pick a different language. "rock of power" is "skály moci" in Czech (says google translate)
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:09 AM   #29
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Alternately, pick a different language.
Yes, something more obscure is what I'd suggest -- assuming you're not Tolkien and making up your own languages. Latin and Greek are just too familiar in modern English vocabulary, even if the speakers haven't studied those languages or know the intricacies of the grammar to get the right inflections on all the words in an actual sentence. Borrowing those words won't be either mysterious or foreign. Better to just make something up.

Now, if you're doing Ars Magica Mythic Europe, then you definitely want the Latin and Greek.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:02 PM   #30
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Default Re: Powerstone historical names

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Technically, the breadlike stuff is manna. The word mana with one n is Polynesian and refers to a quality of sacred power that inheres in chieftains and ritual objects. There's no etymological relation between the two.
While I have not researched it, I believe Larry Niven grabbed the Polynesian word and used it for the concept for a limited magical fuel in his "Warlock" stories, the first being "Not Long Before The End" in 1969. And it entered common usage in gaming from there.
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