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veekie

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Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« on: October 21, 2011, 04:34:48 PM »
Been thinking, what magic systems(more formal than 'Its Magic!') do you know of?

What can they do?
What are the limitations?
What is the cost to use it?
What do you need to use it?
How do they do it?
How do you get it?

I'd open up with a few here. Some spoilers involved of course.
Source: Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Magic: Channeling[spoiler]
Method: Combination of multiple streams of elemental energy in a particular weave. Simple effects have straightforward formations or can be used as raw element directly. Five-elements Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Spirit)
Acquisition Genetic, some gain power naturally, some require training to unlock.
Abilities: Elemental themed magic, though complex effects involving multiple elements can do more than that, and five elements seems to be a license to do just about anything given the right combination.
Highlights are dimensional/spatial portals, temporal blasting(that kills you in the past, resulting in paradox), healing.
Limitations: Male channelers are generally stronger than female.
Female channelers are required to combine multiple people's powers.
Men are generally weaker at Water and Air.
Women are generally weaker at Fire and Earth.
Cost: Physical & mental fatigue, based on the channeler's strength and the magic's power and complexity. Maximum power and fatigue level can be mitigated with Men, until late in the series, lose sanity over time as they use power.[/spoiler]

Source: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Magic: Allomancy[spoiler]
Method: Eat and convert allomantic metals into power internally.
Acquisition Inherited, but also externally gainable by directly consuming the power of Preservation.
Abilities: 16 allomantic metals + God metals(Atium, Lerasium and their alloys). You can have the ability to use one metal(Misting) or all of them(Mistborn).
Effects divided by sphere, internal/external and Push/Pull.
Spheres are Physical, Mental, Temporal and Enhancement
Iron - Pull metal towards you, or pull you towards metal(mass and anchor dependent). Also detects all metal not inside a living body.
Steel - Push metal away from you, or push you away from metal(mass and anchor dependent). Also detects all metal not inside a living body.
Tin - All round sensory enhancement. Ability to deal with the increased sensitivity not a given
Pewter - All round physical enhancement. Ability to deal with the increased power and agility not a given.
Zinc - Enhance specific or general emotion.
Brass - Dampen  specific or general emotion.
Copper - Block Bronze in area, block Zinc and Brass on self.
Bronze - Detect allomancy, to the extent of identifying intensity, location and type of metal used.
Cadmium - Slows time in immobile bubble.
Bendalloy - Speeds time in immobile bubble.
Gold - See other possible selves based on past action choices.
Electrum - See own future(slightly)
Chromium - Destroys others allomancy reserves.
Nicrosil - Vastly enhances others allomancy, but also completely consumes the metal used.
Aluminium - Destroys own allomancy reserves.
Duralumin - Vastly enhances own allomancy, but also completely consumes the metal used.

Atium - See others futures.
Limitations: The precisely right metal must be ingested(alloy proportions are highly specific). Some abilities use the metal up rapidly, while some of the metals are toxic if not completely used up.
Allomancy does not protect you from your own abilities, use of powerful Iron or Steel might be lethal without Pewter reinforcement. Tin grants only a limited ability to deal with enhanced sensory input, its easy to be stunned by pain or loud noises while using it.
Overuse of metals can cause permanent damage.
Cost: Ingested metal filings.[/spoiler]

Source: Exalted by White Wolf
Magic: Charms[spoiler]
Method: Apply essence to a Charm
Acquisition Inheritance from a supernatural progenitor, divine investiture or Exaltation.
Abilities: Various magical attributes and abilities, mainly reinforcing existing mundane abilities.
Limitations: Essence capacity and regeneration.
Most people can only use one charm at a time.
Charms with a duration generally tie up the expended essence until they end.
Cost: Motes of essence.[/spoiler]

Source: To Aru Majutsu Index manga/anime/light novel
Magic: Magic[spoiler]
Method: Principle of Similarity, through invocation or similarity to a supernatural being's aspect or deed. E.g. ritually creating a similarity to a dragon to produce dragon fire.
Acquisition Training, generally based on a belief system.
Abilities: Wide ranging, if it can be attributed to a myth within your belief system, it can be probably be done.
Limitations: Requires ritual foci and extensive ritual knowledge. Most magi use only a handful of spells within a set theme.
Cost: No visible fatigue, but some spells require sacrifices.
Also most powerful magi seem to be nuts, but that seems to be a thing of the setting(everyone strong is nuts)[/spoiler]

Just curious what else is out there.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

SneeR

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 07:22:25 PM »
Does it need to be a fictional source?

Throughout history in many cultures across the world, necromancy, communing with the dead in order to tell the future, has been practiced.

One method is throwing the bones of ancestors into fires. The way the bones cracked told you a story, much like tarot.


Also, I can't paint myself very familiar with it, but voodoo curses seem to require only hatred for someone, a focus like a doll or shrunken head, and material components in the form of herbs with spiritual significance. That would let you pass unluck to the person, as well as directly cause injury.
The answer to everything:
[spoiler][/spoiler]
SneeR
[spoiler]
I don't know if the designers meant you to take Skill Focus for every feat.
Sounds a little OP.

The monk is clearly the best class, no need to optimize here. What you are doing is overkill.

It's like people who have no idea what a turn signal is. They ruin it for everyone else.
When another driver brandishes a holy symbol and begins glowing with divine light, seek cover or get spattered with zombie brains. I do not see what is so complicated about this.
[/spoiler]

veekie

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2011, 07:43:46 PM »
Mythical ones apply as well(see thread title), but I don't fancy myself being familiar enough with most of those to deal with them until I'm sure nobody better's going to show up. :)

Theres western Hermetic magic, witchcraft, ley lines, feng shui, norse rune magic, dozens of ways to divine the future and/or get laid(these were a major priority for magicians in the past), etc.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Prime32

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2011, 08:00:25 PM »
Theres western Hermetic magic, witchcraft, ley lines, feng shui, norse rune magic, dozens of ways to divine the future and/or get laid(these were a major priority for magicians in the past), etc.
Well modern magic rituals seem to be primarily DIY psychotherapy based on willing suspension of disbelief. Plenty of older systems seem to follow the same lines.
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

veekie

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2011, 08:17:42 PM »
I'm thinking more along the lines of what sources can be used as inspiration for a game mechanic, inflated or not. Hermetic and Taoist alchemy both work similarly for example(though some of the Taoist myths have some claims of discovering immortality while working with the ingredients of gunpowder and 'bodily ascended to heaven'), with a lot of early chemistry, poisons, psychoactive substances and explosives.

Got any good ones from your area?
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Prime32

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2011, 08:29:35 PM »
Source: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Magic: Bending[spoiler]
Method: Martial arts based on the movements of creatures with similar powers (earth: badger-moles, air: flying bisons, fire: dragons) and/or celestial bodies (fire: sun, water: moon).
Acquisition Potential to become a bender of a certain type is genetic, power is determined by training and spiritual affinity; a pair of identical twins has been shown where only one had bending abilities.
Abilities: Telekinetic manipulation of earth/air/water, or shooting fire, linked to the bender's movements. Waterbending can be used to freeze/evaporate/purify water or to heal, though generally only men are trained in the first and women in the second. Firebending can be used to shoot lightning.
Limitations: One element per person unless you're the Dalai Lama Avatar. Cannot be used if the bender is bound or none of their element is present (though master-level benders find ways around this, like extracting moisture from the air for waterbending or using facial movements in place of bodily ones). Fire- and waterbending are linked to the sun and moon respectively, becoming stronger while it's visible and unusable in an eclipse. Firebenders have no ability to extinguish fire.
Cost: Requires vigorous movement, which causes fatigue as normal.[/spoiler]


I'm thinking more along the lines of what sources can be used as inspiration for a game mechanic, inflated or not.
Well, this stuff can still be used as inspiration. All the wands, rituals, hexagrams, etc. generally have no actual power in themselves, they just help the user get in the mood.
So you could have a form of magic where placing self-imposed restrictions on your casting ability ("I am a fire mage, I cannot cast water spells") makes your spells stronger due to your faith in your system.

Got any good ones from your area?
Only the druids. By which I mean the modern-day guys who travel to Newgrange twice a year, because no one knows what the original druids were like.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 09:13:15 PM by Prime32 »
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

Ikeren

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2011, 03:04:51 AM »
David Farland: The Runelords
Magic: Runes
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Magic_%28Runelords%29
[spoiler]
Method: Runes and tattoos.
Acquisition: Elemental Wizards are born. Rune endowments can be passed to anyone
Abilities: Elemental runes can do elementally things, and Endowments can transfer individuals abilities to other individuals (strength, sight, smell, stamina, wisdom, intelligence, charisma, etcetera)
Limitations: Each elemental mage only gets one element; runelords can get immense power, but requires a lot of slaves who lack whatever they are given.
Cost: runelords die faster, elemental mages get fatigue/stress, and the slaves/blood metal required for passing on the runes.
[/spoiler]

Anne Bishop: The Black Jewels
Magic: Gemstone magic

[spoiler]
Method: Drawing magic from gemstones of varying hue; the darker, the more potent
Acquisition: Some are born with gemstone, and perform a coming of age ritual to make their gemstone up to 4 gemstones darker
Abilities: Most of traditional magic
Limitations:
Cost: Fatiguing; too much burn-out shatters your gemstone, makes you susceptible to certain magic.
[/spoilerbutton]

Gemstone magic is done a lot; RA Salvatore does it in...a spinoff series with a name I forget.

veekie

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2011, 07:12:32 AM »
Oh yes, gemstones are inherently shiny and magic-like.

Source: The Way of Kings from the Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson
Magic: Soulcasting[spoiler]
Method: Use of Stormlight stored in gemstones to bribe the Spren(spirit) of an object to change into another object. Large gemstones and cut gemstones work better.
Acquisition Use of a Soulcaster or being chosen by Truthspren
Abilities: 10 gemstones, 10 essences, you can transform most anything into one of the essences.
Sapphire - Air or Translucent/Transparent gases
Smokestone - Smoke or Opaque gases
Ruby - Fire
Diamond - Quartz, glass or crystal.
Emerald - Wood or plant material
Garnet - Blood and liquids other than oil.
Zircon - Oils
Amethyst - Metals
Topaz - Rock and stone
Heliodor - Meat and flesh
Limitations: Requires Stormlight charged gems of the specific type, which must be left out in a highstorm(think hurricane) for charging.
Gemstones cannot be created.
Materials beyond the most basic Essence requires more Stormlight and skill based on complexity.
Stormlight required depends on volume.
Use of soulcasting can crack gemstones, ruining them. This is more likely with smaller gems and more Stormlight used.
Cost: Stormlight.
Natural soulcasters(those not requiring a device) must pay with Truths(whatever that means)[/spoiler]
Can think of a couple of mythical systems that uses gems(or at least crystal) as well.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Prime32

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2011, 04:43:02 PM »
Source: Full Metal Alchemist
Magic: Alchemy[spoiler]
Method: Scribe magic circles and draw power from a "gate" in the user's soul to transmute objects.
Acquisition Genetics(?) + training
Abilities: Changing the physical and chemical structure of objects. More obscure/less legal techniques include merging animals together into chimeras and placing souls into vessels.
Limitations: Transmutation circles must be written for a specific task (unless the user has seen their gate, in which case they can perform simple transmutations by clapping their hands) and must be in contact with the target. Using alchemy for medical purposes requires extensive training due to the complexity of the human body. Most alchemists specialise in a particular kind of transmutation and are less effective in other areas.
Cost: The raw materials must be of equal value to the end product. Attempts to resurrect the dead (Human Transmutation) have nigh-infinite cost and will result in the reaction stealing parts of the alchemist's body, though someone who survives will gain knowledge of the gate.[/spoiler]
The details of alchemy vary between the anime and manga (the latter being divided into Western alchemy and Eastern alkahestry), so only the common aspects are listed.

Source: Slayers (http://kanzaka.wikia.com/wiki/Magic)
Magic: Black, Holy, Shamanistic and White Magic[spoiler]
Method: Draw power from mazoku, shinzoku, or the elements respectively, using the caster's body as a conduit. White Magic is thought to be a subset of Astral Shamanism.
Acquisition Training in guilds, or merging with a mazoku (demons are animals which have done the latter).
Abilities: Shamanism is divided into five seperately-trained schools, Fire/Earth/Air/Water/Astral; the first four physically manipulate the elements, while Astral spells affect spiritual energy. White Magic contains mainly utility spells, like healing, sleep, light and dispels (along with some anti-undead effects). Black and Holy magic have much broader effects, but are mostly blasting.
Limitations: Shamanism (apart from Astral Shamanism) cannot harm mazoku or shinzoku, since it creates entirely physical effects while their main bodies are on the astral plane. Despite their magical powers, mazoku are poor at traditional spells and cannot use Black Magic unless merged with a mortal. The strongest Black/Holy spells draw on a specific mazoku/shinzoku lord, who is immune to its effects. The amount of magical energy a person can channel into a single spell is fixed at birth and only a small number of legendary items (or merging with a mazoku) can increase it.
Cost: Physical fatigue; casters can continue to cast spells until they fall unconscious.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 04:44:37 PM by Prime32 »
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

veekie

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2011, 04:09:39 AM »
^^
Alchemy there obeys Conservation of Mass for the transmuted substance, the price should be the energy difference. Also the source of the energy is [spoiler]souls for alchemy(including the anime, the difference is the source of souls) and tectonics for alkahestry[/spoiler]
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."

Prime32

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2011, 01:49:33 PM »
^^
Alchemy there obeys Conservation of Mass for the transmuted substance, the price should be the energy difference. Also the source of the energy is [spoiler]souls for alchemy(including the anime, the difference is the source of souls) and tectonics for alkahestry[/spoiler]
[spoiler]I thought alchemy claimed to be based on tectonics, and alkahestry was based on ley lines.[/spoiler]
My work
The tier system in a nutshell:
[spoiler]Tier 6: A cartographer.
Tier 5: An expert cartographer or a decent marksman.
Tier 4: An expert marksman.
Tier 3: An expert marksman, cartographer and chef who can tie strong knots and is trained in hostage negotiation or a marksman so good he can shoot down every bullet fired by a minigun while armed with a rusted single-shot pistol that veers to the left.
Tier 2: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything, or the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.
Tier 1: Someone with teleportation, mind control, time manipulation, intangibility, the ability to turn into an exact duplicate of anything and the ability to see into the future with perfect accuracy.[/spoiler]

veekie

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Re: Magic systems in myth, fiction and games
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2011, 02:00:12 PM »
^^
[spoiler]The 'Dragon Lines' mentioned ARE tectonic lines, which is why they found it weird that Alchemists don't need to study the locations of those, despite claiming to use them and also why Father can control Alchemy(because they all draw from a reservoir of souls he controls, based on a tradition he teaches) but not Alkahestry(which is original alchemy). [/spoiler]
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

"I won't die. I've been ordered not to die."