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Toptomcat
The driving force behind all of magic's permutations in Shadowrun seems obvious to me- it's whatever the magician believes it is.
The spirit types and totems exist because people think they exist- from the loa to the nature spirits. The totem of, for example, Dove isnít really related to what doves are- white birds that kinda crap all over. Itís related to the meaning and symbolism metahumanity attatches to doves, that of a peaceful messenger/mediator. In the absence of metahuman belief, I seriously doubt any of those would be there.
Even the metaplanes seem shaped by belief, particularly the ancestor-spirit planes but also others.
Magic manifests as 'miracles' for those inclined to believe that.
Magic manifests as 'mental powers' for those inclined to believe that.
If a magically-active individual truly believed in the totem of Strong Bad, guess what Mexican-wrestling-masked boxing-gloved figure would greet them on their Astral quests?
This begs the question- why are the hermetics so intent on puzzling out magic's nature when it's staring them full in the face?

This also raises the question of what could be done to change the nature of magic, the metaplanes and reality itself if you manipulated belief. If you got a significant fraction of the population, particularly the magically-active population, to believe that such a thing is so, then it is so.
This raises the possibility of manipulating the information available to a sealed community of magically-active individuals to make changes in the nature of reality and of magic- the larger the change needed, the larger the community necessary to make it. Make them believe that teleporting magic is possible, and itís possible. Make them believe that a certain man is a God on EarthÖ

Thoughts?
Kanada Ten
QUOTE
The driving force behind all of magic's permutations in Shadowrun seems obvious to me- it's whatever the magician believes it is.

Gee, I wonder why it's so hard for psionics then? Or right, because thousands of years of trial and error beats preconceptions any day. Sorry, but I don't by it. There is a give and take between belief and magic, but one does not control the other.
Toptomcat
It's consistant with the theory, though- the reason thousands of years of trial and error beat psionics is that the thousands of years of many people confidant they're discovering new aspects of magic when they are, in fact, creating them have left a more lasting and stronger imprint on reality than the small numbers and recent duration of the psionic movement have had, in effect 'aspecting' magic to work better with other traditions than for Psionics.
Kanada Ten
Well, I'd go the other way and say that magic aspected society and ritual practices.
Toptomcat
But where is the proof that those who think that they're 'discovering' aspects of magic are not in fact creating those aspects?
Kanada Ten
And vice versa? Come now, Bug Queens can summon other spirits, surely you can see that as evidence...

One can shape how magic works, just as magic shapes how the world works.
Toptomcat
QUOTE
One can shape how magic works, just as magic shapes how the world works.

So we agree on the mechanism, just not the theory.
Ancient History
The more a magician does something, the more powerful it is; and the more powerful it is, the more a magician does it.
Toptomcat
*casts Force 1 Heal to get rid of the headache*
Crusher Bob
Binds force 1 heal on self to a macro button, on the path to ultimate magical power...
Kanada Ten
I'm not really sure I follow. Belief is important, but it's only one ingerdient in the soup. One must still learn by trial and error or from a teacher regardless of it what will actually affect mana and force it to your will.
Toptomcat
Or is it only that way because many people THINK you need to learn by trial-and-error or by teacher?
Kagetenshi
Shamans and the "belief shapes magic" crowd have kept magical theory back by decades. Please, let's waste no more time on this nonsense.

-Diarmuid
Toptomcat
Then explain the phenomenon.
biggrin.gif proof.gif grinbig.gif
Kanada Ten
QUOTE (Toptomcat)
Or is it only that way because many people THINK you need to learn by trial-and-error or by teacher?

rotfl.gif

By the rules of the game actually. One cannot cast spells without a Sorcery skill becasue they cannot default. Pretty good evidence you need to be taught or learn...

nyahnyah.gif
Fix-it
Now, everyone think about expanding Fix-it's bank account, and we'll see if this really works.
Toptomcat
OK, point. Belief isn't the whole story- unless you consider the Sorcery skill your ability to 'disbelieve' in the regidity of currant way the world works. But it still shapes magic and thus reality to a phenomenal degree.
Could the expiriments described above work in the Shadowrun world?
Kagetenshi
People have believed in magic for quite some time. For that matter, belief was stronger thousands of years ago, back in the height of the downcycle. Why was that belief insufficient to make it the height of the upcycle, or for that matter anything at all?

~J
Crusher Bob
In the beginning there were a few drunken none to clean individuals who though to create a world. We know them today as the mighty [b]game designers[b] being well versed neither intricacies of human psychology, the rigors of mathematics, or the clear simplicity of the science of book editing they gave several nonsensical and contradictory commandments to their poor, benighted followers.

When asked what great secrets of the universe they knew that allowed them to make such commandments they replied, 'Well it looked like a good idea at the
time.'
mfb
toptomcat, the strongest evidence against your theory is that people can't change the way their magic works. a shaman of YHWH, for instance, can't suddenly have a revelation that God is dead and stop being a shaman of YHWH. to answer your question, no, these experiments would fail in SR.
Toptomcat
Where in the rulebooks does it say that magical traditions cannot be changed? There's nothing I've seen that specifically disallows it. I'd make it difficult, as well as RP-and Karma-intensive, but possible.
mfb
well, the fact that you'd have to make up rules to do it pretty strongly implies that it's not, by the rules, allowed. also, SR3 page 158 says that the choice is for life, and cannot be changed.
Deadeye
QUOTE
People have believed in magic for quite some time. For that matter, belief was stronger thousands of years ago, back in the height of the downcycle. Why was that belief insufficient to make it the height of the upcycle, or for that matter anything at all?


I'd say that it is because if you have built a perfectly fine little boat with methods handed down to you from your father's father and the high tide has yet to come in the boat simply will not float. A rather crude comparison to the mana cycle, I think, but not completely inaccurate. Since no one is sure where Daniel Howling Coyote learned the Great Ghost Dance (or magic for that matter) one could assume that he had the boat built already and was just waiting for the tides.

I happen to agree with the basic idea of belief influencing the way magic functions, though I haven't put all that much time in to it. Though to address the question of why a Shaman can't suddenly change his spots, as it were, I would postulate that people are stuborn at heart, and once we are set in our ways we tend to resist change. If magic in the 6th World is an extension of humanity and its views then it may make sense that such a collective unconcious be resistant on a macro scale.

Or, to put it 4th world terms, metahumanity has already Named their magical paths, and every time someone refers to hermatism or shamanism or voodoan, ect., they further re-inforce the strict structures that they have unknowingly put into place. Holdovers from earlier ages of magic don't seem to follow a hermatic path or shamanistic totem, though they might be visited from certain Passions from time to time.

Ah hell. It's late. I don't know what the bugger I'm talking about.
Synner
And people wonder why Audun and I thought writing up the different paradigms of magic was so much fun...
Joe Outside
QUOTE (Fix-it)
Now, everyone think about expanding Fix-it's bank account, and we'll see if this really works.

Done and done. I got a bunch of friends together to attempt just that, and when I checked my account, the file was indeed 15K larger.

The amount of money available, however, remained unchanged. grinbig.gif
Synner
And people wonder why Audun and I thought writing up the different paradigms of magic would be so much fun...
Crusher Bob
As long as it's more productive that imagining the expansion of your bank account...
Demosthenes
QUOTE (mfb)
toptomcat, the strongest evidence against your theory is that people can't change the way their magic works. a shaman of YHWH, for instance, can't suddenly have a revelation that God is dead and stop being a shaman of YHWH. to answer your question, no, these experiments would fail in SR.

As a minor aside to that, you are assuming that "belief" is amenable to conscious change. Belief, as I understand it in the context of magic is not "that which I think to be true", but "that which I am utterly convinced is true". The difference is between believing in a scientific theory and having faith in God, Allah, YHWH, The Tick, or whatever.

Would this not explain much of the wrangling between different magical traditions?
Deep convictions are not generally subject to change without notice - try convincing an average Irishman that Ireland would have been independent without the 1916 Rising, for example. You may be able to adduce perfectly rational explanations for a thing being the case, but that does not necessarily mean it will affect belief.
DrJest
I think the phrase you're groping after here, TTC, is "Faith Lends Substance". This is a major tenet of many current magical paradigms; that if you believe in something strongly enough, it will happen.

This is different from what we might refer to as the "True Magics" (or that I call the Source Code of the Universe smile.gif ), which can in theory be operated by anybody (just ask those bloody idiot teenagers who fart around with ouija boards. Dicks). Real magic runs on a combination of the two, weighted towards the former.

Shadowrun adds to the equation the mana level of the world. Or in translation, that magic runs off of an energy source just as a light bulb runs off of electricity. When the power level is low, you get dim light. When the power level kicks up, Enter the Supertrooper. It assumes that your belief is like pulling on a lever; the lower the mana level, the shorter your lever, and the more effort it takes to do something. In downcycles, the effort required is largely beyond people.

In the Shadowrun universe, tribal cultures like the Amerinds, Aboriginals, African tribal states, etc, had maintained their belief systems and rituals down the long years, instead of abandoning them. When the mana levels started to rise, they had more oomph pushing down on the lever, and got better results faster. As the mana levels continue to rise, the rest of the world starts to catch up to them.

The difference between shamanism and hermeticism (to use the two most traditional paradigms in SR) is that shamanism accepts "Faith Lends Substance" without question and doesn't seek to explore magic outside of that, whereas hermeticism seeks more and better "True Magics" to unlock the secrets of the Universe. Neither is wrong, it's just different.
BitBasher
I think the issue here is that believing something does not make it true, and by extension just because someone believes something works that way doens't mean they are right.

Ultimately they are limited by their own perception fo the world. If they believe it, then it is.

People can believe with all their heart that there's no such thing as drain, but that won't stop them from taking it. In SR, magic follows a set of rules. All traditions follow the rules, regardless of their just justification thereof.
mfb
QUOTE (Demosthenes)
As a minor aside to that, you are assuming that "belief" is amenable to conscious change.
how many anecdotes do i need to tell, in which someone loses their faith in whatever god they follow, to prove that even the most deep-seated of beliefs can be shaken? (i also contest your postulation that some people don't cling to scientific theories as strongly as others do to religion, but that's an argument for another forum.)

what if you show an irishman all of the facts, and he believes you? what happens if a Dog shaman gets kicked in the nuts from being loyal one too many times, and decides that maybe loyalty isn't all it's cracked up to be? what if a hermetic mage realizes that the way of wujen bring him more peace of heart than all of his theories?
Kagetenshi
QUOTE
what if a hermetic mage realizes that the way of wujen bring him more peace of heart than all of his theories?


Angst. A sense of irredeemable loss. Eventually, suicide.

QUOTE
what happens if a Dog shaman gets kicked in the nuts from being loyal one too many times, and decides that maybe loyalty isn't all it's cracked up to be?


The path of the Toxic.

~J
Method
Well regardless of weather or not it would work based on the fluff and game mechanics there could be whackos in the game world that believe it will work and form a cult to try it (meeting with success or failure as the GM sees fit) so i think it makes an interesting plot hook.

Besides the players need not believe it will work, they just need to fear that it might.... ork.gif
Cynic project
QUOTE (Toptomcat)
The driving force behind all of magic's permutations in Shadowrun seems obvious to me- it's whatever the magician believes it is.
The spirit types and totems exist because people think they exist- from the loa to the nature spirits. The totem of, for example, Dove isnít really related to what doves are-

Thoughts?

Then Explain why those in the Cult of Jesus sometimes fallow the totem of Dog? Explain why it is thought that the natives of one land following the old "gods" is wrong,but them following the spirits of others is right? I mean it is no more alien for a Roman to kneel down and bask in the warmth of Venus, than it is for them to bask in the wisdom of Owl?But somehow the only paths many people seem to take is that you either fallow some animal, or you fallow the religion that you were raised up as.
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