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A Essay on Magic and Planes in Buffy

Blackthorn's picture

Note: Im not posting this as anything to do with LABN, I wrote it as an explanation or theory on how some stuff works in buffy. Its kinda useless game wise since you dont need any real explanation of this stuff I just figured since I wrote this I might as well share it and perhaps give you guys some ideas.

Earth and its surrounding universe exist as one in a series of an infinite number of universes existing, for theoretical purposes, in an infinite, linear continuum (also referred to as a ‘plane’). These realities are all bound by identical physical laws and are inhabited, when inhabited, by beings of more or less identical abilities and resistance to factors such as heat, cold, pressure, etc. There can be no transfer of materials or energy between these parallel realities, and therefore they have no bearing on each other, save that they occupy the same linear continuum. However, above this plane there are an infinite number of planes. In effect, creating an infinite planar continuum, which is perpendicular to any given linear continuum. These planes differ in the physical laws and the abilities and resistance of their inhabitants to factors such as heat, cold, pressure, etc.

However, the inhabitants of planes can further be divided into the broad classifications of unintelligent and intelligent life. Unintelligent life includes all life that is not self-aware and is not capable of rational thought. Intelligent life or, more correctly, sentient life, is self-aware and is capable of rational thought. “I think, therefore I am,”. Only sentient life is capable of magic, as magic requires rational thought. The same is true of technology.

Magic is an unnatural change brought about through the force of a sentient being’s will. Since magic is entirely dependent upon will, it is often associated with the mind and has been, in some instances, labeled 'psi'. This is an apt designation, as the term 'psi' is associated with and understood to entail the effects made possible through magic. Namely, extrasensory perception 1, telepathy 2, telekinesis 3, and clairvoyance 4, The term 'psychic', which, for all intents and purposes entails all that is covered under the term 'psi', is defined as anything "outside the known laws of physics; supernatural," (World Book Dictionary, 1966), this is an apt definition of magic as a whole.

The above summary of magic fails to explain some of the more overt effects of magic, such as a fireball. If fire is made through conventional means and then propelled through use of telekinesis, the above summary can be used to explain the phenomenon. However, if there is no conventional fire present, it is necessary to introduce additional theory to explain the phenomenon.

While the movement of materials and energy along a linear plane is impossible, however it is possible to move materials and energy up and down through the planar continuum. This is accomplished by use of a psi link between psychics who inhabit different levels of the planar continuum. Links such as these are established first by a magic-user of a lower plane using ESP and telepathy to detect and make contact with a magic-user of a higher plane. Once contact is made, the magic-users establish a sort of ‘psychic guideline’ down which the magic-user of the higher plane can telekinetically move materials or energy. Returning to the example of the fireball, A psychic occupying a lower plane would use his or her extrasensory perception to locate a psychic of a higher plane. He or she would then, through the use of telepathy, request that the psychic of the higher level allow him or her to establish a ‘guideline’ between the points they occupy in their respective planes, and that the higher psychic sends fire down into his or her world. Assuming that the higher psychic allows the establishment of the ‘guideline’, and that he uses his telekenesis to send fire to the lower psychic, fire will come into being in the immediate proximity of the lower psychic. The lower psychic will at this point take control of the sent fire with his or her own telekinetic ability and direct it as he or she sees fit. In this way, the phenomenon of the fireball in the absence of conventional fire is explained.

This explanation brings up the question of why a psychic of a higher level would consent to the establishment of psychic guidelines with a lower psychic and why they would consent to transfer materials and energy to a lower plane for use by another psychic. Since materials and energy can move up and down the continuum and such transfers, therefore, can be mutually beneficial. However when a higher entity is drawn on by a lower entity a debt is created, the lower entity after the use of the higher entities power now owes that entity a debt of its own essence or natural power. However natural power is limited, a human may only ever have a certain amount of natural power at once even though natural power regenerates it may never exceed its natural maximum. However In the case of higher beings when they receive natural power or essence from a lower being they may increase the maximum natural energy they may posses thus making them more powerful in their own dimension.

It is worth noting that the magical theory detailed above is by no means universally accepted, especially among the practitioners of magic. There are a virtually infinite number of schools of magic, ranging from Gardnerian Witchcraft to the Greco-Roman magic practiced in Antiquity. All of these differ in their explanation of the sources of magical powers and the ways in which these powers are to be invoked. Almost all magical practices involve elaborate rituals in the casting of spells and require extreme deference to psychics of higher planes. In some cases these higher psychics are even exalted to the status gods and ‘prayed’ to accordingly. Despite the divergences of the theory of the numerous schools of magic from the theory stated above, the magic employed by these schools is still subject to the same limitations and effects described above. Witchcraft requires calling on greater-than-human powers, and Greco-Roman magic relies heavily on the aid of ‘gods’ who are, for all intents and purposes, identical to the psychics of higher planes.

Within the classification of intelligent life there are the further sub-classifications of the souled and soul-less beings. The souled beings are the minority in this respect, as only one example exists, namely humans. The soul-less beings, or demons, are by far the majority and consist of an infinite number of life forms which come in all shapes and sizes and are possessed of a myriad number of abilities and disabilities, such as shape-changing or a susceptibility to sunlight. The only difference between these two classifications of life is the presence of the soul, which is an ephemeral component of a corporeal body. It is know to contain a good deal of a souled being’s personality and has a bearing on higher brain functions, providing a, often defective, moral compass. Humans, being the myopic, egotistical beings they are, believe the soul to be evidence of their superiority to all other life and justification for the extermination and exploitation of soul-less beings. Human’s believe that the soul is evidence that they are favored by god, a mythical being created by humans to explain questions they cannot answer and to give themselves a sense of security. To be fair, soul-lees beings often find themselves driven to kill and torture humans, and the human tendency to exterminate demons is as much a function of self preservation as it is of bigotry.

Humans within themselves are generic where as deamons exist in an infinitely varied amount of shapes and intelligences and wield an equally varied and infinite number of powers and abilities. These may vary from spiked hands to unique psychic abilities and even to shape changing and regeneration. Within deamon kind almost any physical trait is possible however traits designed to inflict pain and terror are by far the most common. Deamons also vary mentally, some are insane killers others cold practiced manipulators. It is also true that powerful deamons are very rare and lesser deamons are more abundant. Also not all deamons are truly evil in the conventional sense though none are truly good.

1: Extrasensory Percetion: the perceiving of thoughts, actions, etc., through other than normal senses; thought transference; mental telepathy. Abbr.:ESP(no periods) (World Book Dictionary, 1966)

2: Telekinesis: the ability of a person to exert influence upon the movement of inanimate objects, the 'mind over matter effect', also Psychokenesis (World Book Dictionary, altered for the purposes of this article)

3: Telepathy: the communication of one mind with another by means other than the five senses.

4: Clairvoyance: the power of knowing of things that are out of sight; second sight (World Book Dictionary, 1966)

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