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Cursed by Fortuna

Moonlight World Materials: Foundations

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So this is just an idea that I try out, as the title suggests this is a bit of expanded lore of my interpretation (as a result take everything as AU) of the Nasu world and trying to flesh it out. In this case I wanted to work with Foundations, now this is an idea I wanted to do as for what I personally know of foundations (that they vary in strength around the globe, that they are needed to cast certain spells unless one has a magical crest with that spell in it, and that Touko likened Flat casting spells without one which is cited as "... Flat's spells do not use existing magical foundations, but the spells themselves are being used as impromptu foundation which is like making a new CPU for every spell he wants to cast" by Touko. However there are still several questions I have, beyond what a foundation is and how it works, there still are questions.

A handful are; What constitutes the limits of a foundation and why do some foundations vary in strength from place to place? What allows a foundation to form or be created and why do only certain spells work within a foundation (ie. what determines a spell's comparability with given a foundation (and if so could you 'engineer' so to speak certain spells which are partially compatible with a foundation so that they work with it, even if they don't originate from that foundation))? Moreover, how does a foundation work beyond that it acts to allow spells to be cast? What are the mechanics behind their existence?

The purpose of this post is, to hopefully answer that. Mind you, I am not saying this is canon to Nasu's works (if you want what he says a foundation is, then this isn't it). This only applies to the works I have made or posted which are automatically assumed to be AU from Nasu's main world. With that in mind If you like this idea and would like to see more of it, I do have more ideas in this format of world building that I could make, so feel free to comment or critique.

What is a foundation?

A foundation, loosely speaking can be thought of as a system which governs the enactment of spells in exchange for a price of magical energy. However this explanation, while useful is lacking in some aspects, as it neglects an explanation of the idea and role of a foundation and how it is or is not compatible with certain people, concepts, spells, and other foundations. In greater depth a foundation is exactly what it sounds, like a platform of beliefs, ideas, conceptualizations, and understandings about the world, it's mechanics, and more broadly, life and existence itself. A foundation is created from a combination of 3 factors. 1) The circulation of methods associated with it's practice, which determine how it behaves and is used. 2) The dissemination of the existence of said foundation among humanity as to gain a foothold in the collective unconscious and establish root. 3) Lastly the idea of mystery enforcing the power of possibilities or things which humanity knows of, yet can neither affirm or deny.

For example the summoning of spirits and the usage of them to cast spells or interfere with the world is based on the presumption of an the continued existence of the soul after the death of the body, the ability for such spiritual beings to be summoned and influence the world, and the assumption of some manner of conceptual significance of the existence of spirits as the base. This foundation which is very old and may date back as far as the concept of ancestor worship or even before to the idea of conceptualizing forces of the world as spirits and gods (nature as a god) and thus took root in the human collective unconscious giving it a root. Lastly the inability of humanity to disprove this foundation with science or to affirm it, gives it a conceptual power which allows for the enactment of spells of a certain potency (as determined by the weight of the mystery behind the total of the foundation and the spell).

As mentioned before we established the way Foundations form and what they are, but this still doesn't explain why some spells work with foundation they didn't originate from, how crests work, or why some foundations don't seem to get along with one another, or even why a foundation is needed to use a spell.

How do Crests circumvent foundations?

To answer the simplest question first, a crest works by the belief that all spells within it hold weight and value, and the fact that one beliefs in a crest's capability and power to interfere with the world. It is technically speaking a shortcut the crest itself is the foundation for the spells with making it so that instead of being a network of spells from different foundations each spell in the crest is treated as a part of the same foundation which comprises the family crest. As the family crest is added to over the years more spells can be added as the foundation continually grows. One major advantage of this system is that while it restricted to whoever or whatever bears the crest and under most circumstances members of the same bloodline, it suffers no degradation from the culture sphere in which a mystery may be used (a spell originating in Greece in the foundation will be just as strong in Brazil, the only variance is based on who is using the crest, their compatibility with it, and their understanding of the mysteries of the spells within, not the culture sphere).

Due to the requirements for all foundations of a belief in them, their obsession with bloodlines, and the sheer practicality for them they are borderline worshipped by modern mages. In essence a crest allows for an ever growing foundation whose core beliefs comprise mostly of a belief in the crest and bloodline itself rather than beliefs which may cause contradictions and comparability issues with spells of certain mysteries.

Why do we need a Foundation to cast spells?

To explain this question I need to reference what I said earlier "a foundation is exactly that: a platform of beliefs, ideas, conceptualizations, and understandings about the world, it's mechanics, and more broadly, life and existence itself". In essence what was meant by this is that a foundation is a model based on belief, insanity, popular belief, or philosophical and logical deduction (or even modern science) that tries to explain how the world works and how magical energy can be used to influence the world. Back in the days where the root existed side by side with mankind such answers were unneeded (and the root itself acted as a foundation for spells), the link between magecraft and the world was clear, but in modern times with that link lost another explanation must be used to cement the weight and meaning of spells in the world.

Within this explanation a religion could be a foundation for spells (as seen in the church), or a belief in the importance of the concept of electricity and how it interacts with the world and living creatures, or in the case of alchemy the principles of the elements and how through certain means like chemical reactions elements (which compose the world) and compounds can shift and transform into other compounds. However a given in all of this is that the user of the foundation must believe in the foundation. Some deviances are allowed and such deviances are permissible and often lead to the formation of different schools (such as disagreement in the exact meaning of numbers by citing the Bible as evidence created the school of Biblical Numerology which exists as Branch of numerology different say Ismalmic Numerology or traditional Numerology (the original branch)). However what is a given is that all of the schools believe in the basis of numerology that numbers have powerful conceptual and magical meaning which coincides and is synonymous with certain events, beings, places, and/or phenomena. Using numbers a numerologist believes that the world and it's phenomena can be predicted and modeled.

Put simply foundations work on the principle of a form of belief that a law/delusion does holds the weight and power to influence the world, it is a given that you must believe that law/delusion otherwise it won't work as that would mean you believe said law/delusion doesn't hold the weight and power to influence the world. Put bluntly is a person who doesn't have a crest uses a spell in numerology, but doesn't hold these beliefs as true then it simply won't work, no matter how much magical energy they put into the spell. In this way a foundation is a computer and a spell is a program (different branches of a larger foundation (like Biblical numerology) would be specific brands of computer) using a spell without a computer is like trying to execute a program on said computer, when that computer doesn't have an OS installed (as belief in the foundation gives it power thus fundamentally letting the program and computer interface and run like an OS).

While it would be possible to get a program to behave like an OS and thus function as an interface to run itself, it would be exponentially harder and more complicated to do than would make said endeavor justifiable by the eyes of almost anyone and in most cases would not be possible for most people.

In the modern world there do exist beings who do not have to believe in their own foundation to support it, but these are rare (even costs must be believed in to work). Such exceptions are generally mostly not human and include phantasmal beings (who draw on the world as a foundation), counter guardians (who are empowered by Alaya or Gaia as a foundation), heroic spirits (who draw on their legends, their mystery, and human belief as a foundation), planet level spirits/ultimate ones/Aristotles (who draw on themselves and the worlds they represent as a foundation), magic users (who draw on the root as a foundation like people in times past), and divine spirits (who draw on themselves and the faith of humanity as a foundation (sometimes with a bonus of the planet supporting them)).

What is compatibility and how does it relate to spells and foundations?

Finally we come to the last major question about foundation; What determines if a spell or foundation is or is not compatible with each other? Compatibility is what allows for the translation of spells to a foundations they weren't native to (even without crests) as if two foundations have similar thoughts about a subject or are partly or broadly comparable in a dialogue (or don't protest a certain belief, but include it in their musings) then it can be converted over. Now the exact mechanics behind moving a spell from one system to another aren't always precise and even if they go right you might lose a little bit of power or the cost of the spell may increase a bit, however it would allow for that spell to work better in a certain region than it would be in its native foundation.

But be warned, trying to translate spells doesn't always go well, even if the systems are compatible then casting the spell will generate a bit more friction than normal as it isn't native to the system (unlike with a crest or it's native foundation where the system was designed with the spell in mind) than a spell native to the system might. In worse cases, it may behave differently, cause excess burden on your circuits, damage or burst said circuits, improperly manifest, or even have the foundation lose control of the spell after manifesting (or more) all of which could result in injury of varying levels or death.

To explain the idea of comparability the idea is simple, as systems of beliefs some beliefs will mesh with one another, and others will clash, a system which postulates the idea of the 5 classical elements would be open to the idea of an earth elemental magecraft spell which allows for immobilizing others through an imitation of petrification. On the other hand to return to the topic of numerology the concept and mysteries of or associated with the sacred language, the unified language, runes or the language of the gods (except the portions related to numbers which would work slightly better) would be totally incompatible with the numerology as they are based on nameology.

This system of Magecraft is based in the perception or belief that is based in the conceit or belief that names, letters, characters, or languages hold power and meaning which influences the world and it's functioning and form, rather than numbers. As such the two foundations exist in direct conflict and unless you are from a system which believes in a significant importance in both names and numbers, but believes neither to be all encompassing you would not bet them to work in concert (One such example is the church's sacraments (which places an emphasis on the names of saints, angels, and god in his 3 forms, but also has great symbolic meaning around certain numbers as seen in the Bible and the divine) among a few others). The general idea is that with nameology or numerology, you can only believe in one or the other, if you think numbers are all defining with the world, you can't also think the construction of names, letters and characters is also all defining as well. And as mentioned prior it is a given that a person believes in a foundation for it to work.

Updated January 6th, 2021 at 07:15 PM by Cursed by Fortuna

Moonlight World materials