the archives

dusted off in read-only


posted 06 Sep 2004, 22:09 by legatus, Auditor

Since it seems the season for Scott's official answers about the schools isn't upon us just yet, I do believe it's time to open the floodgates on rampant speculation ;) My impression is that among the anagogic schools, their relative power is highly associated with their numbers, and the Scarlet Spires being the most powerful, it can be assumed that they're the most numerous. In the course of Ele├Ązaras' contemplation of his school's involvement in the Holy War, I seem to remember there being mention of their ranks numbering somewhere in the range of the low 100s. I'll need to find the passage again, if it even exists and I'm not completely delusional, but for the time being, I'm going to place their number at 125 fully trained Scarlet Schoolmen. Also, some of Ele├Ązaras' internal dialogue painted him as being torn between wanting to strike a crippling blow and win a decisive victory over the hated Cishaurim, but not at a cost to his school's numbers to the point where they'd be relegated to the status of a minor school. He seemed vehemently concerned about this happening after losing what seemed to be less than 10 of his fellow schoolmen, but if the estimate of their numbers being in the low 100s is correct, even 10 schoolmen is a truly decimating loss--nearly a full 10 percent of their ranks, which would be a crippling loss to any standing army, hence the devastation the term decimate tends to evoke. So if we assume that as few as 5 or 6 battles on the way to Shimeh and victory over the Cishaurim is enough to relegate the Scarlet Spires to a minor school, where the Scarlet Spires loses about 10 schoolmen per battle, I think it's pretty safe to assume that the next most powerful school, the Imperial Saik and the Mysunsai, would have to number somewhere between the mid to upper double digits--60, maybe 70 fully trained schoolmen--if they were to be a threat to a diminished Scarlet Spires as first major school post Holy War. That said, the Scarlet Spires has a few unique advantages to help buoy their position of power among the schools of the Three Seas in spite of potentially reduced numbers, like their forays into the demon summoning branch of anagogic sorcery (or was it only Iyokus who was learned in this? I can't remember for certain) and their political stranglehold over High Ainon. As such, the Imperial Saik's and the Mysunsai's numbers may be even closer still to that of the Scarlet Spires, more towards the upper than middle double digits. The Mandate stands apart from these power struggles for the most part, but even so, I tend to get the impression that their overall power is more or less on par with that of the Scarlet Spires, if not a little higher, which is why, as Achamian mentioned at one point, the other nations of the Three Seas appreciate them as a counterbalance and deterrent to the Scarlet Schoolmen's ambition, in spite of the Mandate being scoffed at otherwise for their continued belief in the Consult. Given the fact that the Gnosis allowed Achamian to be the match of 4 or 5 Scarlet Schoolmen wielding their anagogic sorcery, it's safe to assume that the Gnosis is many times the power, complexity and subtlety of the Anagosis, so even with as few as 25 schoolmen, I believe the Mandate could be the Scarlet Spires' match. As such, that seems like a fair estimate of their numbers, since they most certainly are their match. In any case, I think power among the schools is a combination of numbers and learning. Numbers play a greater role among the anagogic schoolmen, while higher gnostic learning allows the Mandate to remain a powerful school in spite of fewer numbers. Either way, with the severely limited number of sorcerers around the Three Seas, each and every single schoolman is a powerful commodity unto himself, so it doesn't take many to shift the balance of power from school to school. view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 23:09 by Wil, Head Moderator

This has been moved to the TTT section because it didn't hold a question for the author. view post

posted 06 Sep 2004, 23:09 by legatus, Auditor

So on topic discussion in response to author questions are a no go on the other board then? Even when Scott is playing coy and some of the answers to the original questions can potentially be gleaned from the books themselves? Fair enough, I guess. It'll keep the Author Q&A board more streamlined for Scott to read and make it easier to sift through it for comments from him at the very least. Maybe a little less interesting though :P view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 01:09 by legatus, Auditor

In any case, Grantaire's original question also touched on the specific abilities of schoolmen, and I almost find that a more interesting topic than the factors contributing to the overall power of each individual school (numbers vs learning). And since I don't have to worry about flooding his topic with an overdose of my train of thought ramblings here, I've been trying to pin down what sorcerous powers may exist in the Three Seas besides the obvious wielding and manipulation of the elements (fire, earth, wind, water, etc), and I've only been able to think of a few that are supported by passages in either TDTCB or TWP. There are certainly a range of abilities centered on the human mind, specifically concerning its domination. Achamian was faced with the dilemma of using the Cants of Compulsion (or whatever they were called) on Inrau, so a skilled schoolman can obviously exert his will on a weaker subject. I imagine this type of mental manipulation can extend to loosening a stubborn prisoner's tongue when needed information is being withheld, as well as subtle coercion. Outright telepathy might even be an ability within the domain of a powerful sorcerer allowing him to directly probe a person's mind and rip out the information he needs. The Cants of Calling touch on another domain of sorcerous power. Granted, it might be another type of mental sorcery, where a schoolman reaches out to a receptive mind so that they might converse as though they were sitting across from one another, but I think it's a little different; more in line with the way Skauras was ethereally projected upon the face of Mallahet in the Emperor's audience room. If this is the case, I'd say the Cants of Calling are more a form of astral projection than a mental discipline. Another example of a sorcerer projecting his very essence into another location or being can be seen with the Synthese. I doubt this form of sorcery originated with the Inchoroi mind you, but it seems evident that they've adopted it as a means of projecting / binding / imbuing their essences into a variety of empty physical shells, like the Synthese. Inrau felt the taint of this sorcery on the Synthese before he was killed, and I believe the Synthese itself commented on having been bound into its current form. Other uses of such astral projection / essence displacement might focus on covert information gathering (an untethered, ghostly projection of the sorcerer free to pass through physical obstacles at will and difficult to see except by sorcerous wards, for example) or even as a means to achieve immortality. For the Inchoroi, whose mastery of the Tekne might allow them to grow clones and radically alter the genetic makeup of their creations via fleshcraft experiments to render them blank slates, there would be no shortage of empty shells for them to possess and discard throughout the ages. Human or Nonman sorcerers might be required to be more morally bankrupt to achieve immortality, however, since they wouldn't have access to such empty shells. Assuming it's even possible, they would likely have to displace the essence of the current inhabitant of a body before possessing it, so their immortality would come at the cost of countless lives. Anyway, that's about all I can really infer about sorcery from the books. Can anyone else think of any other hints that Scott gives us in either TDTCB or TWP about the nature of sorcery and the powers it bestows upon its users? view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 03:09 by Wil, Head Moderator

The reason I moved this is because of the length and nature of the post. Since it was fairly long, and speculative as opposed to questioning I felt it would be received better in a discussion forum, and not the Q&A. Sorry if I have any offence. view post

posted 07 Sep 2004, 07:09 by legatus, Auditor

Not to worry, no offense taken. I was just a little surprised at first when I noticed my post had done a disappearing / reappearing act, since acts of moderation, much like acts of god, are both strange and mysterious :P Seriously though, I do agree that the post is probably better off here, now that I've thought about it. There's actually been a few other posts in Q&A that I've had to bite my tongue about so as to avoid derailing them into tangential territory. My answer to the question about how chorae were ever made in the first place if they counter and neutralize all forms of sorcery including the sorcery that was used to make them, for example. I started to develop an extended analogy between sorcery and mathematics in my head to explain the mechanism of their creation (and their continued ability to function), but the more thought I put into it, the more the explanation wandered off into its own tangent and seemed out of place for Q&A. I'd given up on the analogy (and the related explanation of how chorae might have been created and work), but maybe a new, seperate post of its own, like this one, is exactly what the idea needs. Now if I could only avoid writing up the idea in such a way as to be so horribly convoluted that it doesn't make the first bit of sense to anyone, I'd be set! view post

posted 25 May 2005, 17:05 by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

The only comment I would have is that the Mandate has the council (including Nautzera), and though I don't remember details, it seemed a bit too large a governmental entity for ~25 sorcerors. Also, their building seems to large to house that few. view post

posted 25 May 2005, 19:05 by White Lord, Subdidact

I'd put their number somewhere around 50/60 sorcerers. I wonder why their numbers are not greater. After all, if you consider they possess the coveted Gnosis, many sorcerer-candidates would give anything to join the Mandate. Perhaps they fear the Dreams or the mockery of their peers, although that is little enough reason compared to the typical power-hunger in your average human. view post


The Three Seas Forum archives are hosted and maintained courtesy of Jack Brown.