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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Making Senses of Magic Powers -- Touch

   
Author Topic: Making Senses of Magic Powers -- Touch
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Sense of touch:

Besides being extremely sensitive (which could go very wrong with a magical sense of touch--irritated skin, anyone?), what kinds of magical powers would relate to touching?

And what could go wrong?

We could include "feeling" (and other kinds of extra-sensory perceptions) if you like, with this one.

[ December 15, 2012, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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MattLeo
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This one is easy. Touch is essential to various kinds of divination, such as rabdomancy. Closely related to rabdomancy would be dowsing, although perhaps that is more involved with propioception than touch per se.

Touch is used to identify the owners of objects and perhaps conjure them -- or possibly identify people who have touched the object previously and divine what they were up to.

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Crystal Stevens
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King Midas comes quickly to mind. You know, the golden touch?
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Reziac
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I remember reading something where "touching" the magic literally raised a rash, or welts, or in milder form caused a prickling sensation. Magic might be put on like sunscreen or makeup, to protect against or to deceive that magical touch.

Okay, that's not what KDW meant, but it's what came to mind [Big Grin]

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Hey, I don't "mean" anything.

I want people to brainstorm in these topics.

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Owasm
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The sense of touch is more than tactile feelings coming from your hand. It's hair standing on end, shivers going up (or down) your spine. Heat and cold, rough and smooth.

I see a sense of touch all the time as a result of magic, but as a source of magic makes it an interesting concept. Using touch as a source of magical projection could produce something novel (as in unique).

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walexander
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touch is often used in the transfer of a power/magic between two sources person to person - person to machine/computer, god to person, etc. Its also very commonly use in lay healing where the healer touches or lays hands upon the infected or injured and often draws transfers the wounds/ disease upon themselves. another common one. the transfer of life essence/draining through touch from various forms of undead that drain life essence for nourishment. the transfer of memories through touch or linking of minds. well a few off the top of my head.

w.

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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by walexander:
touch is often used in the transfer of a power/magic between two sources person to person - person to machine/computer

Which gave me this notion: Computers don't do anything. It's your touch on the keyboard that animates them.

Now, apply that to everything... cars don't start, let alone drive, unless your touch activates them. Imagine a world where only the most direct mechanical force works for those who lack the magic touch.

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Reziac
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quote:
Originally posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury:
Hey, I don't "mean" anything.

See? it worked! [Big Grin]

Great set of topics, and so many ways to interpret the base idea.

[I came along again later and misread what you said as "I want people to barnstorm on these topics."]

[ January 08, 2013, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: Reziac ]

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Reziac:
quote:
Originally posted by walexander:
touch is often used in the transfer of a power/magic between two sources person to person - person to machine/computer

Which gave me this notion: Computers don't do anything. It's your touch on the keyboard that animates them.

I started working on computers in the mid to late 70s, a time when very few people had seen computers "in the flesh". The imagery of wizardry was rife in the computer world, because controlling and programming computers was the closest thing to working symbolic magic that humankind had ever invented. It was the symbolic content of what you did that created the outcome. It didn't matter whether you typed the commands in lightly or mashed the keys; what mattered was the semantic content of the strings of characters you generated -- in other words you had to get the spell right.

I'd like to focus on that for a second, and how remarkable a change in the nature of work that was. Before computers the skill that went into most work was not just a matter of what you did, but how. There was a dimension of feel to most work that couldn't be perfectly captured in words. If you carved a block of wood, you had to feel and follow the grain. If you baked bread or made clay pots your hands not only shaped the dough or clay, they sensed its consistency and resistance and responded. You can't learn to throw a clay pot by reading a description of the process, you need practice to get the feel. Even writing with a pen had a certain feel to it you needed to get it right. Only people who worked on typewriters labored in a way where the result that was largely unaffected by nuances in touch.

Computers shrank the role of touch in much work and replaced it with reproducible specifications.

But what if magic wasn't just involved with semantics, but sense as well? J. K. Rowling suggests that the greatest wizards like Dumbledore had access to nuances of magic that couldn't be expressed in words, only in touch. It's as if typing a love poem on your computer with a gentle touch changed the result. That's an interesting idea to explore, perhaps in an urban fantasy.

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Reziac
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SO... Someone's work could suffer, or even be sabotaged, by their keyboard going bad or being replaced, by a bad keyboard driver, a bad port, lint stuck under the keys...

And the results could differ depending whether you used one of those clacky old IBMs, or those silent BTCs from the 1990s, or the different sort of clacky of a Focus-brand keyboard. And whether it was a 101-key or 104-key or some other layout. Or PC or Mac. Or... <slaps self>

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