Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wizards

"To be oneself is a rare thing, and a great one."
Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea


Wizards know things. They know secrets. Many mysteries are known to them. Things that are forbidden, lost, forgotten or banned to others are their stock in trade. A Wizard may be mad or rational, it rarely matters. What truly matters is that they have undergone personal experiences that have granted them unique perspectives and even more unique powers, abilities and the kinds of knowledge that cannot be delivered in a lecture or conveyed through a few choice words. They are rarely Academics, few ever bother to become Poets, and most have little time for artists, sorcerers or fanatics. Wizards are driven by their Work, often to the point of obsession. But they do know things that no one else knows, and they do things that only they can do, and they go places only they can hope to survive that they might learn new things, gaining insights and power through their direct, personal experience.

Wizards often will keep records of their explorations and experiences. Most of these are encrypted, obscured with scribbled notes in the margins, stained (usually blood or coffee or both), full of sketches, loose notes on scraps of paper, filled with curios, souveneirs and the casual debris accumulated from their myriad travels and adventures. They are notorious for leaving behind idiosyncratic legacies that have driven librarians and archivists mad.

Wizards are engaged in the exploration of the codes, routines, infopackets, datacaches, memes, and other informational systems and sub-systems that underly the consensual world of the seen and rarely considered. They are the masters of dead languages, obscure codes, symbols, softdialects, grammars, ideoglyphs, hieroglyphs, schemes of notation, encryption and more. They speak the words no one else knows, they read the writing no one else sees, and they learn secrets that can only be truly mastered through initiatory experiences, personal attunements, and their own unique process of idiosyncratic synthesis that makes a radical, revolutionary artform out of their inquiries, investigations and explorations.

Wizards are on a first-name basis with a wide array of technologies of every conceivable type and style. They are rarely landed or tenured Scholars within Academia, but they do become Experts and are sometimes requested to lecture on their areas of expertise, much to the chagrin and consternation of many established scholars who sometimes value regurgitative pseudo-erudition over experience. Wizards are seldom duellists and, as they tend to operate in less formal and ill-defined areas outside the confines of Academia, it is most ill-considered to challenge one. They do not play by the establishment rules. They also do not suffer fools lightly, are far too busy to waste their time on pompous twits, and generally are as likely to dissolve a challenger into pinkish goo with a proscribed virux-derived weapon as to endure insults from someone they know will never ever 'get it.'

While most Wizards remain unaffiliated, they do share a sort of ever shifting and changing underground virtual maze of somewhat overlapping, redundant and randomly-connected telecommunications and filesharing networks composed of masses of deprecated, obsolete and discarded legacy systems that they contribute opinions, impressions, political rants, open source scripts, new mods, code to be tested at your own risk, revised templates, and all sorts of such stuff--all of it encrypted, encoded and highly idiosyncratic to the point that only someone with years of familiarity, accumulated interactions, introductions and established personae can even hope to have a chance of making any sense from it all. Secret caches of obscure data kept isolated from the Public Domain are just the tip of the iceberg--the Geniuses do that all the time--what makes the Wizard's underground network different is that is alive. Literally. It harbors artilects, AIdolons, AIvatars, Lar, and more. It is a testing ground, a proving ground for radically new approaches to intelligence, knowledge and possibly even the synthesizing of artificial souls. Wizards draw upon this in the fabrication of xenomentals, amongst a number of other specialized non-people, servitors, or constructs.

Wizards are more often than not declined Insurance, thus they tend to develop their own methods and resources for Rescue, Recovery or Rebirth outside the Perimeter. And a Wizard is generally someone who moves outside the bounds, out past the Perimeter quite a bit. They can be touchy, temperamental, difficult to live with, and hyper-opinionated, but they also know what they are doing (usually) and they have the experience to back up their claims, statements or releases...or else they suffer terrifying, horrifying consequences from the rest of their fellows and peers. In this respect they are a lot like Scholars, only far more likely to crash the surrounding systems with feedback from their response to a challenge...

2 comments:

  1. "Wizards are engaged in the exploration of the codes, routines, infopackets, datacaches, memes, and other informational systems and sub-systems that underly the consensual world of the seen and rarely considered."

    This exactly the way to have wizards work in this sort of world. Great post.

    Maybe you've discussed, and I've just missed it, but what are "demons" (of the summoned sort) in Riskail--or is that even a meaningful question to ask?

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  2. @Trey: Thanks! In respect to spirits and demons, we've hinted at a few things and we're working on something for the xeonmentals that hopefully makes it up there this week yet. Servitors are starting to appear like the Oim, and there are other similar things. Classical summonable entities are very much part of things, in their peculiar way...and we do aim to deliver some stuff on that topic very soon.

    We might jump them ahead of the Astrology, Chakras and Macrostructures posts.

    And all questions are meaningful and worth asking. Feel free to ask away--we'll do our best to answer what we can to the best of our ability.

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