Arcana Discordia

Playing the game of life with marked decks and loaded dice.

So this Arcane Genre is pretty near and dear to me. I relate to it in so many ways and I put a lot of myself into it. I chose to write this article in the perspective of Expedition Demeter and The Web, another of my worlds that takes place in the modern day. This article appears in both The Web and in Expedition Demeter however, as it is a magic system that is used in both. Expedition Demeter is even referenced. I did this for a reason: I find it alarmingly difficult to really explain the ideas in this article without dipping into things that are not present in Expedition Demeter like chaos theory and quantum mechanics. It is much easier to write quotes in an era that has a reference for such abstract ideas. Once I find a way, I will edit the Expedition Demeter version and in the meantime I will use The Web as a placeholder.


Often called chaos magic, Arcana Discordia is one of many Arcane Genres that Arcanists employ to achieve magical effects. It is by far the most unique and least understood genres in the world. Mages who employ the genre gamble with fate. They follow every hunch and believe wholeheartedly in a simple fact: there is no such thing as coincidence.

Arcana Discordia isn't just a genre of magic. It is part philosophy, part lifestyle, and in some cases part religion. Those who practice often find themselves marveling at the simplest things. They lose themselves in the flap of a butterfly's wings. They stare, trying to follow the minute change in the air just to see where it goes and what may happen. While others would turn and run from an oncoming storm, these select few are the ones running toward it.
The desire to know is certainly present, but its more than that. Their's is an instinctive drive to action or a need to observe. It is a desperate urge to peak within Pandora's box and marvel at the hideous wonders within.



Why do I believe? Come now...Life is a game of Russian Roulette and the universe doesn't play it fair. Chaos makes it possible to win.
You say it cant be done. The house always wins right? Chaos lets me play the game of life on my terms...not yours. Its a cheat...a "Lifehack" that opens so many possibilities.

Give it a shot. Let us dance with the devil's daughter...thee and me.
Let us flirt with chaos. Only then will you know what it's like to have a chance at her bed. She, the patron saint of ne'er-do-wells. To cast your lot with her is to play the game of life with marked decks and loaded dice.
— Isla Walker


Chaos magic is practiced by a select few. Most don't even consider it a genre. The abstract concepts tend to be a discouraging factor to many mages in the world and others refuse to accept that anything good can come from tempting fate and playing with dice. Many practitioners of the genre are not even mages.
Chaos is one of the only genres anyone can learn if they are receptive to it. This stems from the unique methods of meditation they employ that served as a basis for Arcana Meditari, the meditation used by mages of all genres. The Genre is divided into four distinct principals. Each puts a focus on a way one can use chaos. They are referred to as The Four Theorems of Chaos. These theorems are the basis for the genre and are used to train those who may wish to learn.


Chaosphere

The Chaosphere is a name given to the infinite set of infinite domains that all represent chaos in its many forms. Each domain is unique and falls under the complete control of a single Divine Being. These gods and goddesses of discord are widely considered the troublemakers of The Metaphysical Reality. They often intervene and foil the plans of their kin. While one should caution approaching them, it should be said that they often have the best interests of mortals in mind compared to many other divine beings.



Paradigm Shift

Chaos is one of the few genres of magic that comes with religious connotations attached to it. The divine beings of the chaos domains are active in the lives of those who hear them. Masters of the genre love their dark deities but they hold no true religious traditions. Instead, they borrow from others. The chaos mages shift their beliefs to what serves them best in a given scenario. They shift their paradigms and test their beliefs from every angle. They gain benefits from these faiths as any one would, for their belief is genuine and every prayer given with an honest heart and a sound mind. The other domains tend to leave well enough alone but find the hands of chaos to be a mild irritant compared to their more loyal followers. Those who master the genre can "steal" benefits that cultists and clergy have access to including powers, use of relics, and prayers.



The Four Theorems



The Synchronicity Theorem
Physical / Metaphysical Law | May 28, 2019

God most certainly does play with dice...



The Probability Theorem
Physical / Metaphysical Law | May 28, 2019

Forget about all that is. This is the power of what could be



The Causality Theorem
Physical / Metaphysical Law | May 28, 2019

Be the change that causes the storm...



The Discordian Theorem
Physical / Metaphysical Law | May 28, 2019

The rains be the strings, the thunder be the brass. Are you ready for the crescendo?

1423168057-aletheia-by-reneaigner-d7btsib.jpg
by reneaigner


The Drunkard's Waltz

Arcana Discordia comes with a form. Forms are combat styles that incorporate the arcane into their move sets. The Drunkard's Waltz is an arcane form that involves letting go entirely of your control. One gives themselves over entirely to chaos, often not being in direct control over specific movements of the body. The effect is often likened to the movements of someone who is particularly drunk. The form has its users stumbling, shifting, and twisting in awkward angles, all the while casting spells of various forms at opponents.


844a9d5971bd54b8748bb3c0ea955526.jpg
by Chris Rallis

Gnosis

Gnosis is the basis for all meditation. This is a pretty bold statement as all mages use some form of meditation to better enhance their spells. The Gnostic State however is particularly special. Its easily learned, and when coupled with the gifts of the genre, make the many spells one can cast that much more effective. Its ease of use comes in how it is taught. While unsavory for some, inappropriate for others, the method is effective a several ways. Instead of emphasizing the need to clear the mind, one is taught to instead focus on the sensation one has after sexual climax. The empty mind one has is often easy to grasp once it is explained and initiates tend to grasp on quickly for obvious reasons. This meditative state is more raw than that of other mages. Its undisciplined and unpredictable, which is exactly what a practitioner of the genre wants.
 

 
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by ssandulak
 

The Value Of X And Y

At their heart, the chaos mages are explorers seeking to understand cause and effect on a scale unheard of. Some circles can alter the course of history in a nation of city states by simply throwing a piece of fruit into a crowd at a gala. The reason for this lies in the systems they create. Their time is spent gathering data, filling in every variable until the system is perfected. They want to be able to control the way things happen and determine how, when, why they happen. They set the wheels in motion and observe. If it works, they learned something. If it doesn't, they learned even more.

Type
Metaphysical, Arcane
Luck is chaos weaponized. Luck goes both ways much like chaos. It can bring good fortune, and bad.
— Mal, from Morrigan
Apples Of Discord
Item | Nov 17, 2019

Luck Weaponized




Arcane Powers of Arcana Discordia
Still working on this one guys. Every genre will have a list of abilities and fancy chart for easy reference. Bear with me. So every genre has a gimmick. Every one of my genres has a specific way the spells work. This means each genre comes with its own special mechanic that separates it from the others. some of these mechanics will be displayed in the form of an easy to follow graphic...which is currently in the works. In the case of Arcana Discordia, players make what i decided to call paradox rolls.

Paradox rolls occur any time a character casts a spell in this genre or with chaotic energies. The player rolls a D100 and if it lands on a multiple of 8, they crit and the ability used is successful. If they land on a multiple of 5 however, a paradox occurs and the spell is inverted.

Ever spell has an inverted counter spell that activates should a paradox occur instead of the intended spell that crits on a roll of 40. This can be a good or a bad thing but when coupled with Pattern Recognition, the player can use this in their favor. See the following blocks for information on spells and their inversions as well as other abilities the genre has to offer.  
 

Gnosis


Name
Gnosis
Origin
Arcana Discordia
Lore_aesthetics_etc
The gnostic state is a form of meditation that allows one to be more receptive to chaotic energies. Entering the state has no visual effect but the mannerisms of the user do change. They appear more lathargic and often sway as if intoxicated.
Requirements_and_limits
Arcana Discordia 1
Range
self, passive
Effects
Player may use a free action to enter the state free of cost. After this all spells known in the genre can be used. The state gives a plus 1 to initiative.
Tags
Arcana Discordia
IsShared
1

Pattern Recognition


Name
Pattern Recognition
Origin
Arcana Discordia
Lore_aesthetics_etc
This ability is passive and entirely internal. The user begins to notice certain reoccurring systems in their environment. These systems can be taken advantage of as the user casts their spells. Their understanding of chaos deepens allowing them to actually cause a paradox, or stop that paradox from happening.
Requirements_and_limits
Arcana Discordia 2
Range
Self, Passive
Effects
During a paradox roll, one must decide if they want one spell or its inversion. When they roll, they may alter the dice roll up to +/- 2 only if a paradox, or crit are within that reach.   If the result of the roll is 42, and the user wants to cast cascade, they have done so successfully. If they rolled a 42 and wanted to cast collapse, they can subtract two from the number, leading to a inverted crit. If they wanted to cast cascade but land on a 30, they can change it to cast cascade. Player only spends Power Points if they use the +/- factor.
Pp_cost
8
Tags
Arcana Discordia
IsShared
1

Cascade/Collapse


Name
Cascade/Collapse
Origin
Arcana Discordia
Lore_aesthetics_etc
The spell is one of the first ever designed by those who focus on the Probability Theorem. The area of effect will glow faintly as the effects are applied. In cascade, matter seems to break apart and reform, usually in the manner of healing as wounds seal up, using the matter as material to repair the damage. In collapse, the area dims, and all matter slowly corrodes and atomizes.
Requirements_and_limits
Arcana Discordia 0,
Range
AOE, 30Ft
Effects

Cascade:

A spell designed to take advantage of undetermined quantum states, Cascade allows the user to place a 15ft radius AOE that heals anyone within for X amount of HP. This effect can be sustained if the user expends the same number of points to do so. On crit, the cascade doubles health gained, and increases defense by 2 as those within the circle begin to predict enemy attacks. X=Points Spent  

Collapse:

If a paradox occurs, the user instead places a damaging AOE that deals X ammount of damage as the quantum states become unstable and begin to tear apart all matter into fundamental particles. This too can be sustained in the same manner as cascade.
Pp_cost
Any
Tags
Arcana Discordia
IsShared
1

Amor Fati/Rampant


Name
Amor Fati/Rampant
Origin
Arcana Discordia
Lore_aesthetics_etc

Amor Fati:

Similar to Rage, the spell was created to prevent distraction from pain as well as increase endurance during a fight, particularly one that isn't going to well. The user enters a state of bliss as they accept the death they may likely receive. They shed fear and sensation as the adrenaline flows.  

Rampant:

When a paradox occurs, the spell actually has a different effect. The user becomes uncontrollable as they lash out at any around them. Their strength increases dramatically as they cleave through their enemies.
Requirements_and_limits
Arcana Discordia 1
Range
Self, Sustained
Effects
While in either state, the user gains a bonus 2 dmg/hit and are unaffected by pain. They also may dip below 0 health so long as they maintain the state with power points. The states differ in one way. Amor Fati grants evasion, raising initiative and defense by 2, If rampant is active, the user gains +6 instead of 2
Pp_cost
10
Tags
Arcana Discordia
IsShared
1

Split/Collide


Name
Split/Collide
Origin
Arcana Discordia
Lore_aesthetics_etc

Split:

A spell designed initially to push enemies back. The user will cause a sudden burst of energy around themselves that pushes out in a shock wave accompanied by chains of multicolored electric arcs.

Collide

Users began to notice that if a paradox occurs, the reverse effect will take place. A gust of white energy will manifest in motion as it rushes toward the user. Anyone caught within will be pulled with it.
Requirements_and_limits
Arcana Discordia 1
Range
Self, AOE
Effects
Split will push back any one in a 15 foot radius to 30ft. this deals 3 base HP. Collide will pull the enemies within 20 ft to within 5 ft of the user.
Pp_cost
5
Tags
Arcana Discordia
IsShared
1
 

Articles under Arcana Discordia



Cover image: by Noah Bradley

Comments

Author's Notes

So this one is pretty special. I would really like the most honest critiques you can give for this because I care for it quite a bit. I put a lot of my own personal life in here due to its weirdness. Just with dates, very few people in my family were not born on or within a week of a major holiday. Mom on new years day, dad on Halloween, cousin on Christmas eve, the list goes on. Plus both my kids were born on the same day. My grandmother is notorious for winning casino jackpots, and the lottery. A week after she won a couple million I played the first time ever and won 24 dollars, I was 24 years old. Coincidental weirdness is what part of my families culture. These weird facts are of course, just coincidence but they are pretty interesting when placed alongside one another. Synchronicity, along with chaos magick, chaos theory and quantum mechanics [which I butchered for the sake of fiction here] are all major inspirations. I actually have the apple of discord tattooed on my arm as its my favorite myth of all time and I absolutely love telling the story. I hope you liked my article and thank you for sharing a little slice of my life. :]


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29 Jan, 2019 19:23

This is definitely a concept of magic that speaks to me personally, and you do a good job of drawing the reader in with in-world quotes.   I gotta say, given the length and sometimes prosaic nature of the article, I feel like the sidebar is a bit of a constricting factor. Write me up if you want me to help you with taking it out of this kind of article. I'd recommend nixing it from the layout and taking the sidebar content, spreading it out into double-columns across the article.   Your ideas of syncronicity reminded me of certain issues of the classical Hellblazer; riveting stuff. Have you read it? If not, I can highly recommend it to you. How does your setting stand on the ideology of "Magic always has a price"?

29 Jan, 2019 19:31

Thanks so much for the like and comment. So yes I did read hellblazer years ago...though I can't remember how John used it, I just remember he did lol domino and black cat of marvel comics have some similar qualities too. I certainly would like some assistance on how to do this double column thing. Css is not my strongest. I can manage on most articles bit in this one it just doesn't work as well.   So magic having a price is only relevant in the web. The major factor in both worlds is the risk. Bad stuff can happen to you if your not careful, see the tables. Chaosnis fickle. I'll need to put the rules up for that reason to better illustrate magical backfire and such.

29 Jan, 2019 20:00

I relate to this so much. I had so many times IRL where I was listening to music and thought "I'm sure this song will come next." and it did.   I had some troubles with the layout that makes your text look really dense and long. This can discourage the reader a bit, so I advise you separate a bit more your paragraphs with spaces, so it feels less scary to delve into.   Also, I don't know if you tried already and this is purely depending on your tastes, but if you haven't already, I suggest you try and set the text in [ justify ]. It would make it easier to spot the different paragraphs and, imo, look better.   Your titles and texts have the same font, and your green doesn't really stand out enough IMO, you should try and play around with CSS to make it more distinct from your text. Also maybe try to add a space between title and text, it would especially help with your [ h4 ] that blends in a bit too much. (I read that you have trouble with CSS, I'm not an expert either but feel free to DM me on Discord, and I'll help you as much as I can, I'm a spark, so it's easy to find me on the list.)   If I was playing an RPG in it, I would totally like playing with that. This really feels like challenging magic to master that do rely on luck but also on the risks the player takes. To me, it feels like you shouldn't rely solely on your rolls but also gauge the situation carefully and act in consequence, which is a nice rewarding feeling for players when things go smoothly.   Just to make sure, The Synchronicity Theorem (to which I relate the most haha) allows mages to "force" these coincidence?

29 Jan, 2019 20:02

(If any of this doesn't make sense, again, feel free to DM me. I'm not a native speaker so it might happen. I'm Happy on discord)

29 Jan, 2019 21:02

This looks very cool! It seems like a mix of psychic powers, dowsing, oracle, and probability manipulation, especially from the examples you gave. I look forward to seeing more concrete examples of these powers! Has anyone thought they were a chaos mage but really just detached from reality, or vice-versa? Is it possible to be born with these powers, or do you actively have to seek them out?

29 Jan, 2019 22:03

So first your question. Yes and no. Some believe and are wrong other don't believe but actually do. What's far more common is those who dont bit think they do actually ending up getting it....it makes no sense. Lol some are born lucky yes but the genre does require learning. Now as far as concrete spells I assume your referring to the spoiler. I have a few I'm adding. I'd love for you to take a look when I'm done if its ok to let you know?

30 Jan, 2019 00:15

Sure! That would be cool!

30 Jan, 2019 15:02

And it is done. Check the powers drop box in footnotes. That's what I have currently.

30 Jan, 2019 15:50

Wow! I like how you put the two opposites together, it makes it much easier to read. Also I feel like some using Cascade or Collapse would be terrifying (having the ground just disappear from under you? No thanks!)

30 Jan, 2019 01:34

Nice work! At first I was a bit intimidated by the density of this article, but I found your attention to theory to be quite rewarding. The details of this article really does provide the outline for a system of belief that feels fully authentic and plausible.   The most interesting realization that comes to mind reading this is that "chaos" as it's used here is kind of a misnomer. Calculating probability, manipulating causality, recognizing quantum states, hearing music in the ecstasy of Erisian clarity: all of this seems to acknowledge a higher system of order that governs all of the apparent chaos of the genre. I feel this comes through most clearly when you mention "complex systems" of causality and chaos mages creating systems through seemingly random acts. Is that the real secret of Arcana Discordia?

30 Jan, 2019 03:06

You are right on the nose there. Here in the real world, chaos theory is supposed to be an ironic name. We actually developed a machine that can predict with near 100% accuracy what number a die will land on if dropped. Something that is supposed to chaotic, random. I used chaos theory as a major inspiration for the genre. The real chaos, in the traditional definition of the word, comes from the genre itself. No one can truly agree what chaos is despite all but worshiping it. Is it random, or evidence of the higher order of things? Those who specialize in either probability or causality pick one or the other, but its the discordians, those who accept both as the final theory poorly hints at, that see that true chaos in their own philosophy and just shrug. The don't even bother to reveal it to others. They exchange significant glances and smiles but they will never reveal it. To them. this discord is an art. This is a different article ill be writing in the future however but you nailed it so i figure id give an explanation. strange attractors are one of the few elements of true chaos. they are random and their effects, in the table, are kind of odd. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks so much for your kind words and taking the time to dig through it. My articles can be dense at times and I know how that can be lol.

30 Jan, 2019 10:59

It's fascinating stuff. I think one of these chaos mages would seem to do absurd and nonsensical things but actually act with great purpose and foresight.

30 Jan, 2019 13:17

Oh absolutely. Some are quite serious as well. Many ways to go about these characters :) thanks for the like by the way

30 Jan, 2019 20:50

Ask and ye shall receive: Here we go! :D   To begin with, I'm just going to go through it and point things out as I see them, then come back around for an renewed impression of the whole at the end. :)  

Often called chaos magic, Arcana Discordia is one of many Arcane Genres Preferences in how one's magic manifests. Usually large groups gather and define the genres. that mages employ to achieve magical effects. It is by far the most unique and least understood genres in the world. Mages who employ the genre gamble with fate. They follow every hunch and believe wholeheartedly in a simple fact: there is no such thing as coincidence. Arcana Discordia isn't just a genre of magic. It is part philosophy, part lifestyle, and in some cases part religion. Those who practice often find themselves marveling at the simplest things. They lose themselves in the flap of a butterfly's wings. They stare, trying to follow the minute change in the air just to see where it goes and what may happen. While others would turn and run from an oncoming storm, these select few are the ones running toward it. The need to understand is there. The desire to know is certainly present, but its more than that. Theirs is an instinctive drive to action or a need to observe. It is a desperate urge to peak within Pandora's box and marvel at the hideous wonders within.
  First of, you could probably split this section up to make it an easier read. Just separate the paragraphs at "coincidence" and "toward it" :)  
Usually large groups gather and define the genres. that mages employ to achieve magical effects.
  There's an errant dot there after genres, but you could probably cut this line entirely. If you meant to tell us more about genres, you already do that in the link. If you feel it necessary to give the reader a hook to learn more about magic, maybe add a block link on the side, just underneath the image, to genres. :)  
It is by far the most unique and least understood genres in the world.
  What makes it unique? What makes it so different? Give us a hook here, tell us what it is that is interesting so we are real keen to learn more. :) "Mages who employ the genre gamble with fate." is a start, but it feels a little orphaned all on its own like that.  
They follow every hunch and believe wholeheartedly in a simple fact: there is no such thing as coincidence.
  I really like this line :)  
these select few are the ones running toward it.
  Consider something like "the Discordian are the ones running towards it". Give them a name or title, make sure we know they are the stormchasers. It reads a bit cleaner (in my opinion, that is).  
The need to understand is there. The desire to know is certainly present, but its more than that.
  Consider combining and rewriting these two together. "The need to understand is central to the Discordians, but not for knowledge's own sake" or something?  
Theirs is an instinctive drive to action or a need to observe.
  These feel a bit at conflict with each other. Maybe combine them? Something like set things into action and watch the sprawling web of consequences unfold, or something. :)  
Why do I believe? Come now...Life is a game of Russian Roulette and the universe doesn't play it fair. Chaos makes it possible to win.
  "Come now...Life" is missing a space.  
Russian Roulette
  Are there russians in your setting?  
You say it cant be done.
  can't*  
The house always wins right? Chaos lets me play the game of life on my terms...not yours. Its a cheat...a "Lifehack" that opens so many possibilities.
  The house always wins and lifehack feel like really modern terms to use. I had thought the setting to be a bit more medieval-y than that, but maybe it isn't?   (Also "my terms..not yours" is missing a space, so is "cheat...a")  
Let us dance with the devil's daughter...thee and me.
  "Thee" feels out of place compared to the rest of the quote, talking about russian roulette and the house always wins.   The quote as a whole is a little on the long side. You could consider trimming it, boil it down to its essentials and make it punchier - cutting out the entire life-hack bit, trimming the "Only then will you know what it's like to have a chance at her bed." and "daughter of the devil" bits, might give it some more omph without being too long.   Also, depending on whether or not you do that, consider breaking it into two paragraphs around the middle. :)  
Chaos magic is practiced by a select few.
  Maybe emphasis this by "only a select few"? :)  
Most don't even consider it a genre.
  Why? If genre is a collective way to accomplish magical effects.. Isn't it hard to dispute the results? Some elaboration on that could be fun, because I do get the feeling that discordians are definitely rebels and outcasts :D  
Many practitioners of the genre are not even mages.
  What do you mean by that? I thought that genres were inherently magical based on what was above it. I understand you are leaning on the everyday-man aspect of Chaos Magick, but does it work for people who don't actually do, well, magic? :)  
Chaos is one of the only genres anyone can learn if they are receptive to it.
  What do you mean by receptive here? Open-minded, magically talented, or something else entirely? How does that interact with the statement made above? :)  
This stems from the unique methods of meditation they employ that served as a basis for Arcana Meditari, the meditation used by mages of all genres.
  You talk about the Gnosis, but where do you tell us what this unique methods are? What makes them different from other mages kind of meditation?   Maybe consider expanding on this bit here and help explain to the reader how this kind of magic is different.   Also consider "the meditation technique used by mages of all genres" :)  
The Genre is divided into four distinct principals. Each puts a focus on a way one can use chaos. They are referred to as The Four Theorems of Chaos. These theorems are the basis for the genre and are used to train those who may wish to learn.
  I would suggest giving us a quick overview of what these four principles are, at very least their names. You can probably cut "are used to train those who may wish to learn." - if they're the basis for the genre, I would imagine it's difficult to train as a Discordian without them :)   I have unfortunately run out of time, so I'll have to pick up here tomorrow for the next chunk of the article. Keep writing! Keep being awesome! <3 Chaos Magick YEAH!

1 Feb, 2019 04:57

Ok so made a plan and ima use your comment to keep track and edit it once your done. Again on your next go around keep in mind that the quotes and the like are modern day. I will fix these grammar and format errors and explain a little more where there was confusion too. That first quote reallly needed a rework but I rushed it.

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