Ask Luna #170

From: Kevin

So apparently the theory that Richard made Alex specialize in short term/combat divination to control and strengthen him is more like encourage an existing skillset. Now at first I couldn’t see how being good at avoiding danger could be a specific type of divination that could be useful for multiple things but then it struck me and here is my question.

Is Alex really good at codebreaking/investigating compared to other diviners? I remember that Alex could break into those Death magic bracelets and discover that nearly unbreakable Chinese scroll that he gave to Richard and he seems to be able to codebreak really fast in general. That type of divination seems to be at the other end of the spectrum from the long term stuff if that makes sense.

As far as I can tell, most diviners don’t do that kind of stuff at all. They specialise in staying really far away from problems so that trouble doesn’t find them. It’s path-walking that they go in for, because that’s what lets them keep everything at arm’s length.

General rule, if it’s a kind of divination that works up close (so opening a safe, dodging a bullet, climbing a wall), Alex is probably better at it, just because he spends a lot more time on that kind of stuff than most mages do.

From: Lisa

Do you think it’s possible that Richard and Morden might not be as close of allies as we think they are? I only ask because of two reason.

1. Remember when Morden asked Alex to work for him? I get the feeling that Richard at the time and to this day still views Alex as his apprentice/Chosen and thus only he is allowed to have dealings with him since apparently Dark Mages are territorial about that sort of thing. Now sure if Alex is a Dark Mage that works out but having another rival mage do it? That could cause major problems, a moot point since Alex didn’t take up the offer but regardless making an offer to another mage’s apprentice seems to be really stepping on their toes.

2. Another thing is that before the raid on the Vault Morden was handling the Light Council, and Richard the Dark Mages, and as far as we know after Morden broke out he has been training adepts, which seems like something a subordinate would do. Now Richard getting the Jinn might have smoothed this over, and Morden could be on the Light Council after the war was won but without it?

Do you think this might cause a power struggle between them now that they don’t have their trump card and that they are now two big fish in a small pond so to speak?

We didn’t have any definite ideas one way or the other before, but a couple of things that have happened lately have been making me think that the answer’s yes. It’s not as blatant as a civil war breaking out, or anything like that, but the more you look at the two, the more they seem to have different priorities. Everything Richard does is all aimed at getting more powerful – sometimes it’s hard to tell how, at least straight away, but if you look back on it, it’s easy to say ‘oh, right, it’s so that he could do that thing to build up his power base even more’.

Morden’s way more complicated. He obviously knows what he’s doing, but he’ll sometimes do stuff where it’s really, really hard to see how it’s benefiting him. It feels like he’s playing some weird long game which isn’t just about himself, if you know what I mean.

Maybe things really would have turned out differently if Alex had said yes to working for him. Not necessarily better though.

From: Rick

Hello Luna I was curious before the war what did Vari do with the Order of the Shield? I think he mentioned that he and Landis were after some mage criminals so did they do similar war to the regular keepers are they kinda of like a SWAT team that only go in really dangerous situations?

Pretty much. The idea is that the Order of the Shield are supposed to be more military, and the Order of the Star are supposed to be more police. So anything that’s obviously going to end in combat gets assigned to the Order of the Shield. Oh, and magical creatures are their department as well, though there aren’t many of those these days.

In practice things are a bit different. The Order of the Star will hang onto cases that are high-profile or political or seen as important for whatever reason, even if it’s something the Order of the Shield should really be doing. Also, the directors at the Order of the Star don’t like handing off difficult stuff, because they think it makes them seem weak. So the lower-rank Keepers from the Order of the Star end up super overworked because their bosses want to look good, while Vari and Landis actually have (or used to have) a fair bit of free time.

(In case you haven’t guessed, this is something Vari likes to complain about.)

From: Richard

Hey Luna so I noticed all of the elemental magic seem to have their own strength and weakness’s. However there are three that I cannot seem to find a drawback in.

Do you know what Ice mages weakness’s are? They seem to have the offensive ability of fire mages but with better defenses do they have some flaw that I am overlooking?

And do Death and Force Mages have an obvious weakness as well? I only put them together because they seem to be designed for combat, so is the only way to take them down is by skill or is there something I am overlooking?

Ice magic’s main drawback is that it’s slow. Attacks are a little slower, direct spells take a little longer. You can dodge an ice spell if you’re fast – dodging a fire spell is a lot harder.

Force mages, their issue is that their magic only works really well in straight lines. Other mages can make bubble-type effects, force mages have to make weird geometric shapes that tend to have chinks in the armour somewhere.

Death magic’s weakness . . . when it comes to combat, they don’t have any. They’re fast, strong, and tough, all at once. The problem they have is that their magic doesn’t really do anything EXCEPT combat. If it’s not hurting or killing someone, or directly helping them to hurt or kill someone, they suck at it. Great in a fight, not so useful for the 99% of your life where you’re doing something else.

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