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Questions that don't deserve their own thread

Discussion in 'The Dresden Files' started by Glimmervoid, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Shiro had terminal cancer by the time he arrived in Chicago. He was also the type of person who would give his life to save a stranger, which is probably why he wielded Fidelacchius for so long.
     
  2. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Killing people with magic... potions?

    We know that in the Dresden Files magic 'knows what it is used for' more or less. Killing someone with magic is bad, even if you didn't mean to. Accidentally knocking someone off a roof with a gust of magic!wind and killing them can still twist the caster.

    I'm 99% certain of the above, but I don't have the WoJ quotes at hand. Killing someone with magic screws the caster, even if it was an accident and there were mitigating circumstances.

    But what about magic potions?

    Let's say that Wizard#1 makes a corrosive potion that he intends to use to clean some very stubborn stains out of his fireplace with. Wizard#2 breaks into Wizard#1's house, steals the potion, and then pours it down some poor mortal's throat, killing them.

    Who does the magic find to be 'at fault' here? Wizard#1 didn't do anything but try to clean his fireplace, but it's his magic that caused the creation of the magic potion. Wizard#2 didn't use magic at all for this murder, but he is certainly the one that most people would say is at fault.

    Do we know anything about this? I can't remember much WoJ regarding potions, since he stopped using them as much in the later books.

    I'm not asking this for fanfiction purposes, so no need to speculate overmuch if we don't have enough information from canon (or Jim) to actually answer the question. But it occurred to me while driving today.
     
  3. Agayek

    Agayek Dark Lord

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    From everything Butcher's said on the subject, I'm reasonably certain that in your scenario, Wizard #1 would be at fault, metaphysically speaking, because he decided to play with deadly chemicals and yet failed to properly protect them from being abused. I remember one of his quotes on the subject being that failing to take precautions against the possibility of a fatal outcome is roughly the same as deliberately causing the same outcome. I don't have the time or inclination to hunt down that quote however, so take it however you will.
     
  4. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    If so, that's really, really stupid. Magic is bound to your thoughts and beliefs, so wouldn't that mean that the reason it twists you is because you've somehow got to justify doing X to yourself.

    If you go with the wind spell scenario and accidental kill it wouldn't be the act of using the spell so much as the realization of what you'd done. That realization would lead to some manner of trauma, as can be expected when you kill a person, which in turn would colour your next use of magic.

    If you justify it to yourself by going "It was right to use that spell, even if it did kill him" then maybe the next use you'll it there's going to be a twist, but nothing about the magic in DF is otherwise sentient so it'd make little sense for it to be the case here.

    Could just be hand-waved with "God moves in mysterious ways" or some such. No idea if I'm making any sense.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  5. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    I'm tempted to say it's Wizard #2 who takes the hit... or at least, the *bigger* hit.

    Reasoning: Define 'use' in terms of 'use of magic'.

    Magic is all about intent and belief. Wiz1 just wants to get a deep clean. Wiz2 wants to kill someone. Wiz1 believes a nice corrosive acid is good for scrubbing grout; Wiz2 believes acid is good for destroying people from the inside out. (Sorry about the accidental poetry.)

    I understand the wind-knocking argument, but in that case, it's not a Wizard re-purposing another's magic. The wind is just an accident, causing an impact on the two parties directly involved, leading to emotional or physical trauma.

    In the case CheddarTrek describes, Wiz1's intent hasn't changed, much like in the wind case, but the actual emotional impact isn't there, because he's not the one *using* the magic for its destructive purpose.

    Think about it this way: could there be an impact on the potion maker if he never knew someone had been harmed with it? As far as he knows, it spilled overnight or he just misplaced it. Probably goes and makes another one and gets to scrubbing his floors. If this happened repeatedly, over the course of months, people continuously killed with his magical creations, and he never knew about it, would there be an impact on him? Or would the person who keeps stealing his shit to murder with be the one getting twisted?

    The only mortal equivalent I can think of is someone locks up a gun, puts it in their attic, and it is stolen without them knowing, then used in multiple homicides. If the gun-owner never knew their weapon had been taken and was being used in a series of murders, would they feel any guilt? Any impact at all, outside of the usual, "Man, I hope they catch that guy."

    All that being said, if they knew it was their weapon that had been taken, there might be some guilt, and that would lead to an emotional impact.

    tl;dr: I think the creator of the potion would only be twisted - and even then, only a little bit - if they knew someone else was using their potion, and even then, the one *using* it would take a much bigger twisting.
     
  6. Koalas

    Koalas Dark Lord DLP Supporter

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    Wizard 1 made a choice. He chose to make an acid potion, something potentially deadly over a cleaning potion. He chose not to use it immediately. And he chose to do so in a location where it could be stolen. I'm not saying WIzard 2 would get off Scott free but the same careless use of power argument that WoJ described with the wind argument is clearly in play here.
     
  7. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    The same argument could be made for Wizard 1 using his earth magic to clear out a hole in the ground and make a pond and Wizard 2 drowning in it when he's out on a drunken stumble one night.

    Makes no sense :p
     
  8. chrnno

    chrnno High Inquisitor

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    Don't the Wardens use magic swords to kill people with no impact to either the Warden or Anastasia? Magic potions should be the same I feel.
     
  9. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Squib

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    This.

    Using magic requires will and the belief that what you are doing is something you have the right to do.

    Wizard 1 makes a cleaning potion. Unless magic should not be used for such mundane things, I see no problem with that (at most, he might run the risk of becoming a stay-at-home-wizard if he does this kind of thing more often...).

    Wizard 2 does not use any of his magic whatsoever, so why in the world should this leave a mark on him? Since the act does not require any magical input from him, it is probably no different from shooting someone (still wrong, but not on a warden-calling level of wrong).
     
  10. CheddarTrek

    CheddarTrek Set Phasers to Melt Moderator DLP Supporter

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    The point about the swords is a good one. Thoughts LittleChicago? Or anyone else, but I know LC is interested in this stuff.

    The swords are used to execute and/or kill mortal wizards. In the books it always felt a bit like they were being used because killing with a sword wouldn't count as killing with magic, same as if you shot your opponent in the head. But the ones the Wardens carry have been enchanted by Luccio.

    Okay? But what does that have to do with killing someone and it not twisting the caster?

    You can want it to work this way to not twist the caster, but that doesn't mean your view of it overrides Butcher's. This assumes I remember Butcher's quotes correctly, but I'm 99% sure that I do. Enough that I don't care to go hunting for them, but there's a WoJ thread on DLP.

    There are some quotes about Morty and why his talent started to fail him that more or less match what you're saying. But that wasn't about breaking the law so much as about his lack of belief in what he was doing making his talents less powerful at one point.
     
  11. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Killing with magic, even unintentionally, always stains your soul. There may be degrees of how much it stains when you take intent and the likes into account, but we have no hard evidence in either direction there.

    Wardens use swords because killing with a large piece of steel does not break the Laws. Warden swords are enchanted to be ever sharp and cut through magical defences. Given these two pieces of information we can declare that as long as it is not magic that is killing the Warlock, the swords do not break the First Law.

    I'd theorise that as long as the enchantment on a weapon doesn't directly harm people then the act of killing is reduced to purely mundane means (i.e. a honking big hunk of metal).
     
  12. LittleChicago

    LittleChicago Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    And I would extend this argument to the potions. The potions themselves are just items, created and perhaps infused with magic, but on their own, inert items.

    We have it laid out in canon that, while magic is energy that can be shaped and altered by the user's belief and intent, once the spell is formed and released into the world, the energy behaves as though it were just energy, ie, you can shape and form fire magically, but once the spell is complete and you release it, it's just fire; magically created, yes, but not magically sustained. It becomes uncontrollable, and functions as though it is no longer connected to the creator.

    When Harry burned down Bianca's (Book 3 spoiler alert!) he was fairly certain that not everyone who died in the fire was a vampire. But there was no immediate execution. The chance of it never even crossed Harry's mind.

    Same goes for the potions and the swords; they may be items that were partially created, or enhanced with magic, but once the magic is out there, once the user has released that energy and allowed it to be its own thing, the connection between them becomes tenuous at best, and non-existent at worst.
     
  13. Koalas

    Koalas Dark Lord DLP Supporter

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    Not exactly. Using the example Fire magic can be controlled, against its 'natural' nature through the investment of further energy. Lucario's lasers or the Denarian circle for example.

    I think this was more Harry was the only one left alive to give his account. Mysterious fires and all that.
     
  14. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Luccio's*

    Also, I'd argue that the only reason potions work as they do is because of the magical energy giving them their properties. After all, mixing basil, depleted uranium and dung do not usually give you ghost dust. So I'd say that using a potion to kill someone would be breaking the First Law.

    Harry mentions in Storm Front (or maybe a later book while looking back on it, I can't remember now) that the reason his love potion didn't break the Fourth Law was because it only lowered Susan's inhibitions, not compelled her. I'd argue that means that potions can break the Laws, because while they're not being actively controlled by the Wizard, they're still his power and thus should be used responsibly.
     
  15. 9th Doctor

    9th Doctor Slug Club Member

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    Further thought on the relationship of magic and items being used to kill and breaking the first law, which may or may not be tied to a Dresden Files fic that I'm potentially planning out after my current project wraps up-

    In the instance of a soldier using magic in battle, a situation where he directly uses magic to kill (such as burning someone alive) clearly breaks the first law.

    In the Revolutionary War, guns were not nearly as accurate. What if he used magic to make the bullets more accurate. The bullet is what kills, but magic is still heavily involved in the delivery, so I'd argue that this is more in line with breaking the first law as well.

    Same soldier, now promoted uses magic to sneak into a house where a private meeting is taking place. He veils himself, and then kills the participants. (Either under the veil or no) but he uses entirely normal ways of doing so- say a knife. I'd say this isn't breaking the laws- he killed with fully normal means.

    The point I'm most interested on another opinion is the second point. Is it breaking the first law? What if it was changed to simply be the soldier aiming better instead of affecting the bullet?

    And while I'm posting in this thread, do we have a plot bunnies thread for Dresden? I don't remember seeing one. Would the TGYH thread work for that?
     
  16. Aekiel

    Aekiel Angle of Mispeling Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Your views mostly line up with mine, I think. I'd go for the second situation being a very grey area, with the Wardens probably erring on the side of execution if they were to find out about it. The difference between the sword and the bullet in this case being that it's likely the bullet wouldn't have hit (or at least not lethally) without the magic, therefore drawing a direct line between the spell/enchantment and the death.

    However, I think most self-improvement spells wouldn't count as breaking the Law. Improving your aim in order to shoot more accurately just means that you're better at killing with mundane means. There may be some grey area in there though, if you consider spells like Aristedes' kinetomancy.
     
  17. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    9th. Neither would break the law. The first might be grey area. Fairly sure both would backlash, though. In both examples Magic is used to kill, or to enable killing, which is the same thing, since we are discussion intent.

    Question is what would happen if the wizard in question mass produced magic bullets but never wanted to or used them personally.
     
  18. Red Aviary

    Red Aviary Hogdorinclawpuff Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Small question, but was it ever talked about what the Wardens did with the bodies of executed warlocks? Just dump them in the Nevernever or what?
     
  19. Ryuugi Shi

    Ryuugi Shi Jazz Hands!!!

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    The only magic in the swords is their ability to disrupt enchantments, which has nothing to do with what kills people--that's just the result of the fact that they're made from extremely good materials by a master blacksmith with hundreds of years to perfect her craft.

    The Warden Swords are specifically used to avoid breaking the law, but Harry's stated that killing someone with his rings would break it--the difference is that the magical element of the latter is directly involved in killing someone.

    In addition, recall that the enforcement of the laws are primarily a legal thing--whether you've broken the laws and get tried over it directly relates to what a Warden thinks when they look into it and the laws are given a lot of leeway in this regard; unlike the Accords, they're mostly based on the spirit of the law. Say 'haha, I blew someone off the top of a building and the fall killed him, not me!' is not going to hold up at all, but having a magical item stolen and used for murder falls under much the same territory as having a gun stolen.

    Doubtful, given the number of things that can be done with dead bodies. I assume they have an in house method of disposal. Cremation, most likely.
     
  20. Puzzled

    Puzzled Professor

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    Can Bob create a body in the Nevernever? And if so, can he bring that body into the real one at a cost like other ectoplasmic constructs?