owlmoose: (ff12 - fran)
KJ ([personal profile] owlmoose) wrote2013-11-20 07:22 pm

Wardens of Ivalice meta post, Part 2

Believe it or not, I have been working on the next part of Wardens of Ivalice (my epic Final Fantasy XII/Dragon Age crossover) in fits and starts over the past year. I like what I've written so far, but I've realized that it's hard to motivate myself to work too much on the story when I feel like I have too many gaps in my attempt to merge the two universes. So it's time to start hashing these things out, and I'd love some help tossing ideas around.

When I last posted about this topic, one of my biggest concerns was how to reconcile magic use in Ivalice with how magic works in Thedas, and I still haven't really come to any firm decisions. As far as I can tell, anyone in Ivalice can learn any magic spell, provided they learn the precursor spell(s) and purchase a license (a game mechanic that I've never attempted to sensibly translate into real-world action). Some people have higher innate magical power than others (Fran/Penelo/Ashe/Vaan vs. Balthier and Basch, for example), but that just means that the spells will be more powerful when such people cast them. In contrast, people in Thedas are divided into mages and non-mages. You either have access to magical spells, or you don't. And I'm not quite sure how to reconcile that difference.

Outside the obvious -- spells require the caster to tap into a mana pool, which are restored by the passage of time or some sort of potion (lyrium or ether) -- the source of magical power also seems different. In Ivalice, magic is powered by the Mist, which comes from magicite. My headcanon for Thedas (and I've yet to see this contracted, though I would very much appreciate learning otherwise if I'm wrong) is that mages draw their power from the Fade. I've toyed with the possibility that the Veil (the connection between the waking world and the Fade) is much thinner in most parts of Ivalice than it is in Thedas, and so that means more people are able to tap into it. (Although I might have already contracted this theory in The Joining; see below.) This would require some sort of connection between Mist and the Fade. Drawing a connection between magicite and lyrium, a mineral used in Thedas to enhance magical power, would seem to be the next logical step. Could magicite and lyrium be the same thing? Or related to each other?

I've already created some connection between Mist and darkspawn corruption in The Joining. I got this idea because Nabudis is very like a Blighted land, as are other places where the Mist lies heavy such as the Feywood. Fran is sensitive to corruption, just as she is to Mist in some situations, and the darkspawn horde was unable to enter the Golmore Jungle. So any answer I come up with needs to take that into account, as well.

A few related questions:

Can Alistair (or anyone else with Templar skills) block magic use in Ivalice? Or are his abilities useless? Perhaps they work against darkspawn but not fiends that are local to Ivalice? (All the darkspawn in the story so far traveled from Thedas to Ivalice via the Deep Roads/Zertinian Caverns, although now I'm thinking about how new native variations might work…) In Part One, I had a scene where Alim Surana was unable to detect any connection with the Fade when an Ivalice Warden cast a spell. But maybe there's some other way for Templar skills to work.

Can the Wardens who've come to Ivalice to Thedas learn to cast magic? Will they still be able to do so if/when they go back to Thedas?

Any other questions that the story, or my natterings about it, have raised for any of you?
sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2013-11-21 03:42 am (UTC)(link)
Feeling lots of agreement with what you've written here. Adding to it:

Magic in Thedas isn't a true binary "have" or "have not." One of the codex entries on magic says that some mages can barely light a candle. And then there is the debate on whether templars are partial mages due to their lyrium intake (and WoG has nodded his head in agreement that this is not a black-n-white situation).

The mist in Ivalice is connected with magic, and Fran says that when the mist is strong it makes magic stronger. So, if you headcanon that the mist is aeorsol magicite, and that magicite is similar to lyrium, you could have something to work with?

Another thought: Basch has the lowest magic stats of the main party, but he's been exposed to the mist all of his life, even if only at low levels, and this also occurred during gestation through his mother. Imagine if Basch's mother lived in Thedas when she was pregnant and she raised Basch (and Noah) there. Without exposure to mist, Basch would have been a non-mage in Thedas. Likewise, assume Fiona (for sake of argument) is Alistair's mother. We know she's a mage and we know that Alistair isn't one, but had she given birth to Alistair in Ivalice, that extra exposure to mist would have given him just enough ability to cast spells. FWIW, I headcanon that templars with mage family members are latent mages who are more readily able to work the anti-magic and pseudo-magic skills that templars learn. Thus, people like Carver, Meredith, and Thrask take more quickly to templar skills and "cast" those pseudo-spells more powerfully.

As for you questions at the end:

1. Alistair (or other templars) in Ivalice: using some variant of the logic above, I don't see why not. Alistair may also be able to learn other similar defensive spells too?

2. mage!Wardens: again, with logic above, I don't see why not.

I guess it really depends on whether you want magic ability to be a plot point or not. If key differences between Ivalice and Thedas help your story's plot, use that to shape how magic and templar-style anti-magic works.
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[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2013-11-21 06:40 am (UTC)(link)
Plausible that adult non-mage Thedasians wouldn't develop magical skills although maybe there is a critical age? A 14 year old immigrant might start developing some magical skill level? A 6 year old immigrant catches up to his/her peers by or before adulthood?

I'm also thinking that Alim would be far more adept with spell casting wherever the mist is thick. Could create an interesting backfire effect if he doesn't realize how to moderate himself?! Cast a fireball and it turns into a firestorm! Ooops! ;D

No, never headcanoned that one needs mage "genes" to become a templar, just that having latent power might help. Might also help them avoid lyrium addiction if less lyirum is needed to power their pseudo-magic skills.

The Fade connection has potential for interesting and tricky things. I can't remember what you original did with it (if anything) but given how sensitive Viera are to the mist and the words of the forest, perhaps there is some connection?

Very curious to see where you go with all of this.

(and, yes, if Carver works into this, I'd be extra excited although it's already great as is!)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)

[personal profile] lassarina 2013-11-21 04:14 am (UTC)(link)
Licensing: I would say think of a license as a piece of critical understanding that eludes the person until they spend a lot of time working with it and thinking about it. For example, learning how to Cure is relatively minor and easy, because on a physical level, your body knows how to heal itself; the "understanding" that unlocks the "license" is seeing how Mist affects, permeates, and shapes a body or mind (Fran going Berserk in the presence of too much Mist) in a minor, fundamental way (you can heal light wounds, surface things that time would take care of.) Fire/ice/lightning: you can touch and experience two of those three things, and it's a small step from there to shaping them from raw Mist. As your familiarity with Mist grows, you gain a greater understanding (more licenses) of how to safely channel it without frying your own brain, and this understanding increases your actual mental capacity to channel it (Fira vs Fire; in my head the difference between them, from a character's perspective, is how much Mist they pull in and breathe out to shape into the same basic concept, i.e. why Fira costs more MP and has a bigger effect than Fire.)

Given that by the time of FF Tactics, the Mist has apparently all but disappeared from Ivalice, the Veil theory makes sense. If the Mist is, effectively, bleed from the Fade into Ivalice then restoring that dividing line would create the world we see in Tactics, 500 years later. (p.s. you should play Tactics it's amazing and you'd love Agrias and we could play more in Ivalice together.)

I've never really used Templar abilities in any of my playthroughs (I just let Alistair run himself), so I'm going to ask a dumb question: could they be a less formalized/more instinctive version of Disable/ga and Silence/ga?

I think a connection between magicite and lyrium makes perfect sense.
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[personal profile] jerkface 2013-11-21 02:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Could one possibly liken the Templar abilities to Technicks, then? People in Ivalice are always doing crazy things that defy the laws of physics, even without the use of true magic (i.e. Souleater, Telekinesis, sword skills in Tactics, etc.). It's not too much of a stretch to assume that the two might operate on a similar principle.
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)

[personal profile] lassarina 2013-11-21 03:11 pm (UTC)(link)

Different to those who don't perceive their connection to the Fade, sure. But what if that's a matter of perception? What if all stamina/mana IS the same pool, people just learn how to use it differently? =)

Lassarina Aoibhell Webmaster, The RPG Place http://www.rpgplace.net

sarasa_cat: (Default)

[personal profile] sarasa_cat 2013-11-21 06:54 am (UTC)(link)
Love this interpretation of the license board: license=understanding+readiness.

Ages ago I headcanoned (and included in a Ronsentwin fic) a theory about how mist, the transport of mana in red blood cells, and long term storage of mana in bone marrow are interconnected.
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[personal profile] alias_sqbr 2013-11-21 05:04 am (UTC)(link)
I'm with vieralynn: everyone in Ivalice is a mage of some sort, albiet maybe a very minor one. People who would have grown up into mages in Thedas are SUPER powerful in Ivalice.

Templar skills should work in Ivalice, but maybe not as effectively because of all the ambient magic?

I can't see darkspawn sensing working with anything but darkspawn, it doesn't work against, say, dragons or wolves or whatever in Thedas.