2012/05/27

The Difference bewtween Magic and Miracles



There is a limit to what Magic can accomplish. Almost nowhere is explained in fantasy rpg's the dramatic difference between enchantments and pure miracles, that is, the actualization of the impossible.

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Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

22But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard;

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Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’”

6So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 7
But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

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Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” 17They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals.

19The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”
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Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. 9It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”

10So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on men and animals. 11
The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians.

2 comments:

David Mayeux said...

The clockworks in my Tik-Tok Thinking Cap (TM) are rapidly whirring on this one. It's also nicely coincidental as I'm considering a magic-user character who is a member of an esoteric religion and sees his magic as a natural extension of god(s)' creation, ergo with limitations from natural law.

But your suggestion has huge implications for any kind of cleric/priest styled character within a fantasy setting that has a high rate of theistic intervention and the differences between magic systems such as D&D, which invokes the strange but possible, and Mage which focuses on changing reality itself; ie, making the impossible real.

faoladh said...

Coincidentally, today I got to the Religion chapter in my ongoing analysis of Fantasy Wargaming. The discussion includes the fact that the Ethereal Powers can do anything that a magician might, but can also do more (such as the resurrection of the dead).

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