luna, do you like any video games? do you play them with everyone?
Oh, yeah. I had consoles growing up, then after I left school I started getting into MMORPGs. There was a couple of years where I wasn’t doing much else – Second Life, Gaia Online, and especially WoW. For a while I pretty much lived in WoW and the only thing that pulled me out was working enough hours to pay the bills. After I met Alex I went cold turkey, though. Funny thing – after I quit, I lost all desire to go back, and it just got stronger and stronger until just the idea of logging in actually made me feel sick. Still can’t face it. I think I associate it with everything else back then.
On the plus side, I started playing Smash Bros a year or two back with Vari and the others and now I love it. Still don’t think I ever want to go back to MMORPGs, but Smash is fun.
I was wondering if you had any idea when the next Encyclopaedia Arcana will be available? I love reading them and would hopefully like to see more soon.
Haven’t got any lined up at the moment. If enough people ask for the same article, I could go dig one up.
A question about Alex’s armor. I’m having trouble picturing it my head. Is it thin enough to wear under regular clothing like other forms of body armor or is it too bulky? Alex has been wearing a large coat to cover it up which indicates bulk, yet Arachne seemed surprised to see that he wasn’t wearing it underneath his clothing. Also, has Alex started using the mistcloak again?
It looks like a combo of plates and mesh. Not super bulky, but it’s not thin, either. It fits under regular clothing, but you can see the outline if you look, unless he’s wearing something very baggy or one of his long coats.
And yes, he’s gone back to using the mist cloak lately. Kind of dangerous, but I guess he knows what he’s doing.
Glad to see you’re back and answering questions! Got a couple I’d been wondering for a while, actually.
About foci – how much use can a given mage get out of them? As I understand, they’re a way to use magic you can’t normally – so a dispelling focus would let you dispel something even if you couldn’t normally dispel. So the question is, does your own type of magic limit the kind of foci you could use? Say, could Alex use an air magic focus to fly? Or a shielding focus to create shields, a force magic focus to use attack spells, life magic foci to heal, etc. If so, do most mages eventually build up a collection of foci for all the kinds of magic they can’t use? Or are foci too hard/expensive to create for there to be that many?
Secondly, did Alex learn more about divination from Richard, or Helikaon? Or is most of his knowledge from self-learning?
Lastly, could Richard be a diviner? Looking thought the questions about his magic type, I thought he might be a Dark diviner, like a older, more ruthless version of Alex, which would explain his interest in Alex and his desire (and ability now I think about it) to keep his magic hidden. And also Morden’s interest in recruiting Alex, now apparently passed on to Richard now that he’s back. But I then thought it would be likely diviners could easily recognise each other, due to the results their magic would get when used on each other, so now I’m uncertain. Could Richard be a diviner?
With a focus, the amount of use you can get out of it is based off four things: (a) your strength, (b) the focus’ strength, (c) your skill with focuses in general and (d) your compatibility with the focus.
The last one is the most complicated, and it varies from mage to mage. General rule is that the closer the focus spell is to your own magic, the easier a time you’ll have using it. So from that point of view, the best focus is one that uses a spell that’s from your own magic type (like a fire mage using a focus with a fire spell). Next best is a type that’s different, but related (like ice to snow). Next best after that is a focus from a magic type that’s not related, but within your own family (elemental, living, universal). And a focus from a different family is worst of all.
Then on top of that, there’s the complexity issue. Focuses don’t have the flexibility of a natural spell, too many of the parameters get set in creation. So you REALLY would not want to use a healing magic focus, except for super-basic emergency first aid (and even that’s dangerous). And . . .
Yeah, this could go on forever. I’ll stop or we’ll be here all day.
Other questions: Alex learnt the basics of magic from Richard, but it was mostly universal stuff, I think. I don’t think Richard taught him any divination spells, or if he did, Alex doesn’t talk about it. Helikaon was the one who taught him actual divination.
And yeah, that’s one of the possibilities that we’ve talked about. Divination’s one of the ‘ghost’ types, so it would fit with Alex never having been able to tell. But figuring it out for sure would involve someone getting really close to Richard, which is on our to-do list somewhere between “not unless we absolutely have to” and “never”, so I’d rather keep that theoretical.