The difference between Magic and Miracles - part II


But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16(for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” 20But Peter said unto him, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee, 23for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” 24Then answered Simon, and said, “Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”[7]

At last the sorcerer claims to be able to do the same as the Lord, that is, to resurrect from the dead. With this, he is pushing the concept of Magic to its extreme boundaries. Let's read:

Until he came to Rome also and fell foul of the Apostles. Peter withstood him on many occasions. At last he came [...] and began to teach sitting under a plane tree. When he was on the point of being shown up, he said, in order to gain time, that if he were buried alive he would rise again on the third day. So he bade that a tomb should be dug by his disciples and that he should be buried in it. Now they did what they were ordered, but he remained there until now: for he was not the Christ.[14]

The successor of Simon the sorcerer was Menander:

Menander, [813] who succeeded Simon Magus, [814] showed himself in his conduct another instrument of diabolical power, [815] not inferior to the former. He also was a Samaritan and carried his sorceries to no less an extent than his teacher had done, and at the same time reveled in still more marvelous tales than he.
2. For he said that he was himself the Saviour, who had been sent down from invisible æons for the salvation of men; [816] and he taught that no one could gain the mastery over the world-creating angels themselves [817] unless he had first gone through the magical discipline imparted by him and had received baptism from him. Those who were deemed worthy of this would partake even in the present life of perpetual immortality, and would never die, but would remain here forever, and without growing old become immortal. [818] These facts can be easily learned from the works of Irenæus. [819]
3. And Justin, in the passage in which he mentions Simon, gives an account of this man also, in the following words: [820] "And we know that a certain Menander, who was also a Samaritan, from the village of Capparattea, [821] was a disciple of Simon, and that he also, being driven by the demons, came to Antioch [822] and deceived many by his magical art. And he persuaded his followers that they should not die. And there are still some of them that assert this."

4. And it was indeed an artifice of the devil to endeavor, by means of such sorcerers, who assumed the name of Christians, to defame the great mystery of godliness by magic art, and through them to make ridiculous the doctrines of the Church concerning the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the dead. [823] But they that have chosen these men as their saviours have fallen away from the true hope.


The Difference bewtween Magic and Miracles (Introduction)

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.

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;

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.

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.”
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.


A fantasy magic system which is capable of ensorcelling me

What i have been seeking for a long time, the jewel i am always after whenever i stumbled upon a new game in my life.

The greatest delusion, insurmountable- is represented by AD&D magic system, totally devoid of fascination (because how can a human being throwing balls made of fire all around be an enthralling vision?)

But that Magic is rooted in what is enchanting seems a particular that has been completely forgotten.

Magic in AD&D is little more than a weapon, it is shallow, and it lacks a grounding reason (from where Magic comes? Why it exists?)

Again, that Magic is a mystery seems a particular that has been completely forgotten.

It should be the most important and delicate aspect of a fantasy rpg (otherwise, why would we call it a FANTASY game?) but instead it ends up being an uninspiring subject.

Thank Heaven, other minds came to regard Magic in a different way than Gygax and Arneson, and all this was portrayed in later games, some of which i might be talking about one day.

But today i had to write down a few phrases. I spent part of the afternoon in an gigantic library this afternoon, and i had in my hands some old books, i looked upon some words which inspired me a little bit and a couple of thoughts were born.


Fantasy role play made easy (1985), again


Includes Star Trek races as player characters.
Halflings are known as hobbits and have Infravision.
Character generation has the standard six attributes plus Size and Build, which determine carrying capacity. The number of dice rolled for each attribute depends on race, with some races only allowed to roll 2d6 for certain attributes while others get 4d6 for certain attributes.
Characters have a randomly generated background through use of a "heraldry" table.
Armor class is ascending.
Includes critical hit charts as a default in combat.
Muskets are available as a weapon.
There are rules for spell modifications.
Turning undead uses a clunky formula instead of a chart.

If i was to write a new "old-school" fantasy rpg

I'd call it like this.

I really love the name of this ultra-obscure fantasy rpg from 1981.
The only thing i know about it is that it was not a complex, convoluted one (the kind that i like), that's why i'm not interested to buy the copy on ebay (which is likely to be one of the few in existance).

"Swords, Sorcerers and Sirens" sounds to me like the perfect name for a fantasy rpg. It conveys almost everything i think of whenever i find myself thinking about fantasy in general. But 300 dollars is too much now, alas.

"Swords, Sorcerers and Sirens" is composed of:

Wraparound cardstock cover
one folded green cardstock landscape map
two folded blue cardstock dungeon maps
customer order card
one 8.5 x 14 folded rule sheet (races, professions, monsters and spells, and game mechanics) 

There are sections, like paragraphs, for races, professions, monsters, spells, and game mechanics. It's very basic. A character advances by capturing enemies, which grants the character a magic item. 

Maybe my favourite illustrator

has been this woman, called "Anna Re" about whom i know nothing about.

I don't even recall how this magazine came into my hands, nonetheless i found it again recently, so i thought that scanning it was a good idea.


Ironhedge (1987) by Empire Wargames

Thanks to David from There's dungeons down under who first introduced me to this game i had never heard about, and who kindly provided the link for the actual download of it.



A remedy for the AD&D malady

I'm not dead.
After almost three weeks of silence, i come back to this blog. It's good to have a pause, you see everything differently after a pause.

What is the greatest benefit for the future generations of players, the greatest benefit that may come from us- so called grognards?

It would be to give them the chance to choose, the chance to examine and EXPERIENCE every fantasy rpg ever published. But that is impossible to achieve today, sure there are some of them which are constantly popping up- i recently heard about the re-release of Wizards'world (which i offered on this very blog some months ago), and then maybe Heroes by Millard is going to be republished again, so something it's moving.
But there is still too much to do.

My blog is, among the other things, a little and humble effort to shed light on some of these forgotten rpg's.

Recently i wrote i was going to write about the ten most "spellbinding" fantasy rpg ever, and i didn't forget about that.

Will we ever get free from the Dungeons & Dragons malady? I don't think so, but even so there must be people around to counter that, and talking about the other fantasy rpg's which are lying in the dark will suffice, because the aim the goal here is not the impossible (and futile) one, that is: to try to destroy AD&D.

 Why? I hold it in great esteem, it is a beautiful fantasy rpg, the only problem is that it overshadows not just one, but MANY fantasy rpg which in several respects are more beautiful ( i say agan, more "spellbinding, enchanting") than AD&D.

And again, i find myself thinking about the future generations. What i would like to see accomplished?

I would like to see a community on the web dedicated to each fantasy rpg of the past, giving the chance to the guy of the future to download all the books pertaining to that rpg for free. Much as it already happens with the Powers & Perils website.

In that case i would cease writing.

A remedy for the D&D malady can be achieved, at least partially. More to come.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...