What the Towers of High Sorcery were in DragonLance

Discussion in 'Player Guilds & Groups' started by Poor game design, Jan 20, 2017.

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  1. Poor game design

    Poor game design Avatar

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    The guild "Towers of High Sorcery" uses the lore to justify having "towers" and "robes" and "the test" but other than that there's basically no similarity to the well written and purposeful lore that Margaret Wise and Tracy Hickman created.

    This is not intended to bash the ToHS for being different and choosing their own path. Nor is it meant to point the finger at individuals that use the lore in their own way. What I'm trying to do is built some awareness around how far away from the original concept we as a community have grown.

    In DragonLance:
    • The towers were not places of social gathering, they were sanctuary from non-mages, protected by powerful magic that would not let non-mages in without special and rare invitation.
    • The color of the robes meant more than just good, neutral and evil. For example, Black Robes were the ones seeking power and dominance over others, and they had the most liberal use of magic that the other robes thought were too dangerous. When there were renegade mages, the Black Robes would be sent as assassins to kill them. Which begs the question, why would Evard Dirae pick Red Robes over Black? Why would a white robed mage have a monument of skulls? Why would the Red Robed mage be a follower of Chaos Magic? Red Robed mages were interested in BALANCE, recognizing that both Black and White robes had a tendency to reach beyond reason and negatively impact the world.
    • The main difference between Black, White, and Red robes was that the Black robes believed there should be no moral influence in how they used magic, the White robes believed there should be a moral compass, and the Red believed there should be a balance. That was reflected in almost everything they did.
    • The Conclave was an ORDER, meaning it was very structured and had a lot of rules. It didn't have a lot of situations where it would just ignore actions or let people do whatever they wanted to do.
    • Chaos Magic (or wild magic as it was called in DragonLance) was the entire reason that the Towers of High Sorcery existed. Because long ago the magic of Krynn was wild, and there was no structure, there were no rules, and it nearly destroyed the world! So the gods of magic developed a system of governance that all magic users were to follow. The Test, the Towers, the Conclave, it was all part of that system, which was why anyone not following that system had to either stop practicing magic or be killed. In my mind, the study of Chaos magic would be forbidden by anyone in the conclave including the black robes, for this reason. But if anyone was going to study Chaos magic it would be the Black Robes and not the Red Robes.
    • The Test was not so much an initiation as much as it was a way to weed out mages that didn't get it or were not good enough. The Test was used to help the mage see the path that made the most sense for them and to be around other mages that shared their values. A mage taking the test would be asked to wear the same robes as their sponsor (someone that had already taken the test), and then after the test it was determined what robes the mage would wear. But the mage could take off the robe and change to whatever he wanted to, the robes were not magical and the conclave wouldn't punish them for wearing whatever robes they chose so long as it conformed with the system of governance.
    • Becoming the master of a tower was something that the entire 21 member conclave (7 member council) had to choose collectively. It wasn't an action performed by just a few people, nor even the head of the conclave. There were only 5 towers (EVER) and so there were only 5 tower masters. Conclave heads and masters of the tower could be removed by a vote of the council.
    • Raistlin wore the Red Robes before turning to the Black Robes. He did this because he had reason to attempt to stay under the radar, not showing his hand to the conclave as to which side of the fence he leaned towards even though it was obvious that he had a plan early on to be full on power hungry. Again, this was a symbol but also a community of like minded magic users. So the idea that a person would create Towers of High Sorcery that are Red vs. White vs. Black doesn't make any sense. The Towers are not colors, they're just towers. They all have the same function, to act as sanctuary from outsiders, allowing the mages inside to study, research, and otherwise network with other mages that are following the system of governance handed down by the gods of magic. Even Raistlin understood and used that system.
    • It's no doubt that if the true Raistlin showed up here and looked at what a Tower of High Sorcery was, he would largely ignore it. Knowing that magic had not yet become mature enough for an organizational structure to have any real meaning or practicality. He certainly would not have time for this drama.
    • There's so much opportunity here in our game to use a similar system, if nothing more than a frame work for the development of a new and more New Britannia appropriate conclave charter. But simply cloning the parts of another world's lore that we have fond memories of serves very little purpose. That is why I created the Shards of Truth. Because once I find people of like mind, we can together form the roots of what a real magic conclave would look like. I would love it if our influences included DragonLance lore, but only if it was applied thoughtfully.
     
  2. Numa

    Numa Avatar

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    "Red Robed mages were interested in BALANCE, recognizing that both Black and White robes had a tendency to reach beyond reason and negatively impact the world."

    Funny, but the most otherworldly summonable creatures are the Phoenix (Sun) and the Demon (Chaos). All the others are pure elementals which reflect the powers inherent in the (game) world.
     
  3. Poor game design

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    Yeah, I personally would not have Red Robes summoning Daemon's. The Pheonix on the other hand (and obviously this is all debatable) seems like a perfectly fair summon for a conclave mage to cast. Yes, it's otherworldly, but it's a lot better than a Lich! ;)

    I think the schools of magic should not actually be divided up like that. Instead, I'd prohibit the use of Chaos magic as it is an uncontrolled use of magic and this is an order of governance that is designed to control. Being a Black, Red, or White robed mage is really supposed to be about HOW you apply your power and not what types of spells you use. Although I do believe a strong case could be made that if you're using a lot of death magic you should probably be in the Black Robes.

    There's already a lot of cross over lore in New Britannia that fits well with DragonLance lore. The Obsidians were well known for harnessing Chaos magic, and it may have been their downfall. If you translate the runic in the magic sigil there's reference to Chaos being important in some way. RG and Starr have stated that Chaos is meant to be neutral and not "evil" which is fine. But summoning a Daemon that will kill everyone on sight clearly isn't a practical use of "good" so I don't find the actions or use of Chaos magic to be in line at all with neutrality. It's not really a responsible way to use magic. "Oh yeah, that spell I just cast turned you all into chickens. Sorry!"
     
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