The Paranet Papers, Part 6 (Spellcasting)

The theme of this chapter is to bring magic closer to canon due to new stuff being introduced in the books published after the game was created. Those of you who read my reviews of the first volume may recognize it as absolutely terrible idea. The rules of magic were the best when they were dealing with relatively generic stuff, like the evocation of five elements (though even there we had spirit covering everything the other four didn’t) or general thaumaturgic rituals. When it comes to DF-specific lore, like soulgaze or hexing, it was generally flawed at best. Most clearly it could be seen in the section on Laws of Magic, which attempted to define in mechanical terms something the books never bothered to properly codify, creating a horrible mess stitched together with a lot of “up to the GM” handwaves.So, let’s see how well it went this time.

The chapter begins with the update on sponsored magic, already suspicious concept due to the debt mechanic, and it really doesn’t look good.

“The implication in the manuscript is that you can only incur this debt when you’re specifically casting the sponsored version of your magic. Turns out, this isn’t the case. In the Changes casefile, Harry describes drawing upon “cold power” to fuel all of his magical arsenal after becoming the Winter Knight, not just ice spells and decay-related effects.

Thus, as long as you can relate what you’re doing to its agenda, pretty much any magic you’re capable of doing can be supported by your sponsor.”

Mary Sue.

“The sponsor can also affect more than just your magic.

At Chichen Itza, Harry pushed himself further and harder than he ever had in his whole life, buoyed by his new status as the Winter Knight. Even when he wasn’t casting spells, he was faster, stronger, and simply better than he’s ever been. He took hits he shouldn’t have been able to take (or avoided them altogether), hit harder than he ever has before—he was completely transformed by his sponsor.”

Mary Sue.

“Later, he discovered that nearly any kind of magic he did could be made sturdier and more robust through the addition of soulfire—illusions got sharper and more precise, evocations hit harder (especially against anything vulnerable to True Faith, like vampires), and thaumaturgical rituals manifested as being somehow more “real.”

Mary Sue.

“Another notable difference to other forms of sponsored magic is that Harry doesn’t seem beholden to the sponsor in any particular way. His encounters with the Heavenly Host have been…somewhat contentious, and he certainly didn’t have the kind of faith in God that Michael does, or even Murphy does. None of the archangels have ever made direct demands of Harry that we know of, or suggested that he alter his behavior or his goals.”

Well, of course God wouldn’t have any problems with Harry. Harry’s already perfect. You know, just like Mary Sue.

Butters: More “real”?
Billy: That’s my best guess, from reading the casefiles. Harry always said that the primary component of magic was force of will. When Harry describes using soulfire, it seems like…the world is force d to perceive and acknowledge it more. Look at his sanctum invocation from the TURN COAT case.  The spirit might not have even noticed him at first, but as soon as he poured soulfire into his ritual, he pinged on the spirit’s radar and Harry suddenly became more worthy of its attention.

Dear Cthulhu, the world itself bends around Harry, putting him at the center. It’s a nearly exact definition of Mary SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS








  1. GeniusLemur says:

    Still, it’s good to see an author fix the problems in his work. Butcher obviously realized the big problem in DF, that Harry isn’t massively overpowered enough, and took measures to fix it.

    1. Roarke says:

      It gets better (Harry’s blatant Sueness, not the writing quality).

      1. illhousen says:

        Ia! Ia! Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way! She Whose Name Is A Sound Of Dying Canon! Ia! Ia!

  2. Nerem says:

    I was actually hoping Sponsored Magic would be more like how Black Magic works in Slayers. Where THE big attack spell, Dragon Slave, did nothing to the Lord of All Mazoku, because he literally supplied the spell with its power, so it was literally asking him “Help me kill you” to use it on him.

    1. illhousen says:

      Well, it actually does work that way. The sponsor can always say nope and cut off your magic, plus strike at you with mental attacks at will if you don’t do what they want.

      I’ll cover it in more detail once I’m not as overwhelmed by, well, Harry.

      1. Nerem says:

        Man that’s a pretty shitty deal. No wonder magic is so shitty in the Dresdenverse.

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