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This questions a spring off of a previous one.

My Thaumaturgic magic system uses five elements.

  1. Fire (Heat).
  2. Light.
  3. Electricity.
  4. Force. Which includes Alchemy, by using vibration to warp the structure of matter.
  5. Entropy.

The capabilities of the fifth element of Entropy are causing me conceptual problem and before I have to cut it I'd like to try and fix it.

First I chose the word entropy because it sounds cool, and the name is more distinct than necro-something. The name is also closer to the power that I want it to have. The element of Entropy doesn't control the force of death, manipulate the souls of the dead or allow the creation of zombie.

Entropic magic is all about erosion and dissolution, fires go out, stone turns to dust, metal corrodes, wood and flesh rot away its touch.It can also reduce the level of entropy within substances to slow if not completely arresting decay. At low levels this is all fine,though it does overlap slightly with the other elements. However what does The element of Entropy do that none of the others can.

I see two possibilities.

  1. Is Tamper with probability. The problem is that the ability to rig the game, is very, very dangerous and mechanically speaking one of the most unbalanced powers to allow. Also I already have people that can influence probability, the clerics, priests and shaman. Divine magic in my setting is probabilistic in nature. Through their connection to their respective deity or deities a priests can touch the wyrd and can bless or curse things within their deity's purview. Tying the ability to affect the roll of the cosmic dice to a deity's purview was my way of constraining the ability, entropy though would only cause disorder (errant luck) would affect everything.

  2. The ability to unfire time's arrow, that is to bend entropy back upon itself. Going beyond holding back decay/chaos to slow or prevent a break down of physical substances, this power would be able to make things unbreak. My mind boggles at the thought of just how dangerous the ability reverse entropy must be. More than danger, just what could be done with the ability to unbreak things?

Two pick one of the two I'm going to need to understand what they both can do,how to keep them from throwing the whole system out of balance, or a third way that entropy could be used.

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You could try taking a similar approach to the one in the video game Singularity.

The device the character wears allows the player to reverse or accelerate the effects of time on the world around him (although in a limited area):

You need to open a security door connected to a long dead generator: you reverse the passage of time in that small area, and voila, you have power.

You see a broken bottle on the ground and you're feeling thirsty: (this is from the trailer): you reverse time in that area, and the bottle puts itself back together, and fills with liquid before your very eyes.

The reverse is also possible:

A door blocks your way: You speed up the passage of time in that area, and the door rusts away before your very eyes.

You can imagine what this does to people. (watch the Singularity trailer for some very graphic examples)

Balancing The Universe

This powerful branch of magic will need to have to have some checks and balances in place to keep it from being truly God-like.

  • Limit the scope of the spells such that they can't be cast over wide areas such as an entire city.

  • While able to dispatch even a group of foes by aging them rapidly, such a mage would not be able to maintain their spell ad infinitum, and their range would be quite limited, which makes them susceptible to long-range attacks, etc. (this way they are not a one-shop stop for global domination)

  • Rejuvenation is obviously the pink elephant in the room - virtual immortality within the grasp of anyone with an Entropy Mage on hand. That would be too easy, wouldn't it? Make it so that rejuvenating a living, sentient being has some pretty terrible consequences on the psyche - memories of the past, present, and future somehow driving the target quite insane in 99% of cases. Only truly powerful mages would be able - after years of research, study, and meditation - to survive the procedure with no ill effects. Even then people would be very suspicious that they may secretly be insane, and just a ticking time-bomb, waiting to snap and commit some atrocity. Those untrained in the magical arts, such as for example some king eager to live forever, would go quite mad after being rejuvenated for more than just a few years worth of time.

  • Similarly, you can wave away resurrection by explaining that once dead your soul leaves the body and never returns.

However, this power should also be quite attractive:

  • A very powerful Entropy Mage may very well be able to sustain his own tower in a state of perfect time-freeze, such that nothing around him decays. A more trivial use of this power (by lesser mages) may be to create fridges. You're laughing, I know, but safe food storage was a pretty big deal in the middle ages.

  • Healing terrible wounds might be possible by rejuvenating a subject just a few minutes or hours (to before they were wounded). This should be very difficult, and only very advanced mages should posses the precision required to control time on such a fine scale. The subject may suffer some temporary consequences of being rejuvenated, but otherwise survive to be quite healthy in mind and body.

  • Minimal anti-aging should be possible for some non-magic users, as long as they posses a very strong will. A powerful and desperate king may request that a mage rejuvenate him a year or two in his old age, such that he may be able to lead one last campaign against the foes of his people, or rule just long enough for their heir to reach maturity, and thus avoid a civil war. Mages would only grant these requests to truly worthy individuals, since a lesser human being would simply go crazy anyway. The person in question sees this more as making a sacrifice, although abuses do happen.

What do you think?

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  • $\begingroup$ You gave the best presentation $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 22 '15 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @trismegistus - thank you :-) I hope my ideas prove useful $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Dec 22 '15 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ Your also saying what everyone else is, that entropy is pretty much time magic. Though I only need it to do are break things down,and slow the decay in other things, possibly arresting it completely. How would healing work without severing entropy;And what it limits. If tried to fix a cup would all the pieces just come flying back together, or would all the parts have to be present. A similar question can be applied to healing people, does burnt away flesh heal or become uninjured? $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 22 '15 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ @trismegistus - the way I was envisioning it is basically reversing/fast forwarding time in a very localized area. Your victim ages because in his own little bubble time is moving at great speed. The bottle is coming back together because in its past it was whole, and what you are witnessing is the reversal of time in that on that particular object. You may want to justify not bringing people back to life by explaining that once the soul departs the subject may never live again. But a wound would simply become "undone". It would be like rewinding a tape, but with a certain object in focus. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Dec 22 '15 at 22:05
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The paragraph you've described here

Entropic magic is all about erosion and dissolution, fires go out, stone turns to dust, metal corrodes, wood and flesh rot away its touch.It can also reduce the level of entropy within substances to slow if not completely arresting decay. At low levels this is all fine,though it does overlap slightly with the other elements. However what does The element of Entropy do that none of the others can.

and the two options you make are completely irrelevant and don't make any sense to me.

Instead, the entire paragraph can be explained away by making Entropy "time magic".

By speeding up time for certain objects, they will erode. Rocks, over time, will erode. Metal rusts, over time. Flesh and wood rots, over time. Fires go out, over time. Do you see the pattern yet?

No? Let me continue. Slowing time for a dead body can prevent it from rotting. Slowing time for a rock can prevent it from eroding, etc etc.

Sounds to me like you've over complicated a problem that can be easily solved with time ;)

Just give the magic the ability to slow down or speed up time, and that's fine. Reversing time should be impossible, however, unless you want to really complicate things. Just having the slow/speed up ability is already quite powerful.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've seen entropy associated with probability in two piece of media, Mage The Ascension and Dragon Age; its from there that I acquired the notion. I watch enough special Nova and the like, to have heard the term arrow of time. That's where the Idea that Entropy could potentially be used to make things unbreak. $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 22 '15 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Trismegistus You may know enough about those things to draw references to that, but I have never heard of Mage The Ascension, or Dragon Age, or the "Arrow of time". You need to add some more clarification to your question next time. $\endgroup$ – Aify Dec 22 '15 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ One of Dragon Age's Schools of magic is Entropy, Mage The Ascension divides magic into spheres one of which Entropy. $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 23 '15 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ I did provided a link to what the arrow of time was, and the other two are easily searchable. $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 25 '15 at 12:52
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Perhaps rather than time magic or whatever others are saying, it would be more effective to affect a small area with improbability. Arrows and bullets veer off-course, lifespans of living and non-living things alter slightly, objects may change states, regional atmospheric pressure shifts, temperature changes, etc. Many people here are thinking of how it could be controlled, but the very definition of entropy is chaos, something that cannot be controlled. Entropic magic would be useful for a solo user, as it could negatively affect a team member. Then again, this is just my opinion. Use if you see fit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Entropy magic being an invocation of murphy's law , as entropy can cause even abstract things like the order of things to decay. Which works just fine, my concern is with applying it. Is should I go with whole sale disaster or can it be aimed, and if so how? The only way to aim it that I can see is through combining it with other elements. $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 25 '15 at 16:17
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Entropy roughly the number of possible micro states a system can exist in. See wiki Heating a system, mixing a solution more evenly or moving it to a more loosely tied form of matter(sold -> liquid -> gas) increases entropy. It also governs the direction of chemical reactions. Increasing the entropy of and object quickly would be akin to exploding it. If you could go backward you could preform alchemy fairly easily by separating gold from sea water.

How we thing of decay is very macroscopic entropy is microscopic

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On the second point, breaking things isn't the same as entropy. If I drop a glass on the floor and break it, the glass didn't experience sudden entropy, it suffered a shock. If the glass sat in a cupboard for 10,000 years and slowly eroded away to dust, that would be closer to entropy (as I understand it).

That being said, you could have entropy be reversible, but just take a lot of power. Dangerous things shouldn't be easy.

As to the first point, I don't see how entropy could help rig the game except maybe for roulette, as you could cause the wheel to spin longer or shorter as desired, but it would still be really difficult to get it to stop precisely where you want it to.

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  • $\begingroup$ The association of entropy with probability is something that acquired from two places Mage The Ascension and Dragon Age. In my browsing I came across the term Arrow of time in relation to entropy. I'm also just using the word entropy because I like how it sounds. necro-energy or necro-force what "entropic magic" is actually dealing with. $\endgroup$ – Trismegistus Dec 22 '15 at 21:38
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The other four elements in your system create entropy in the classical physics definition, all of them carry energy from a higher potential area to a lower potential area. Since entropy is that dispersion, someone who has control over entropy by speeding it up or slowing it down, would be incredibly powerful.

Make entropy magic about the amplification or dampening of all the other elements. So, a magician in skilled in fire and entropy magic would be able to wildly amplify the effects of the fire spells.

Implications of Control over Entropy

  • With control over how fast heat moves from one area to another, you could have your enemies cook themselves in their own metabolic heat products.
  • Alternatively, you can freeze them to death by accelerating the rate at which their bodies radiate heat.
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