Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cultural Analysis of Darkshaping and Lightwielding

Hi. Sorry about the hour, pretend I live in a late timezone.


Darkshaping and Lightwielding are the two Shaping Arts by which the world moves. Darkshaping is the socially accepted, slightly safer one, and it at its most basic is reshaping and moving matter. It allows healing, shielding, and rapid construction, and in the process of charging it consumes the shape and stature of its sources. Its advanced powers include nanosurgery, rapid sculpture, large scale area manipulation, and personal shapeshifting, although this last is quite dangerous. The sentient inhabitants of the local planet are naturally nocturnal, providing significant bonuses to its popularity, and also everyone likes access to magic healing.
Lightwielding, on the other hand, is generally unpopular for several reasons. Unlike Darkshaping, the most basic application of Lightwielding is not to reshape matter, nor to simply obscure something with pure Darkness, but rather a ray of Light that destroys everything it touches. It has no direct applications in construction, no healing abilities, and its advanced uses include puppeting dead or damaged bodies.
Light controls reactive movement, chemical energy, and thereby fire. It’s illusions are distortions at best. Darkness controls shape, including on the chemical scale, but it cannot cause or manipulate reactions, it merely changes how the Prism refracts Light, but this can be used to create wonders, including lifelike puppets, although they can usually be detected by how they move, underneath their clothes.
Lightwielding is therefore considered to be messing with the forces of life, and therefore ought to be beyond the actions of men, especially given the results almost any time it is tried, as there are very few competent supervisors. It has recently been winning greater respect and approval within fringe groups, as it does allow some useful effects, but it is still largely regarded as dangerous, difficult to practise safely, and reserved for fools and murderers.
Darkshaping, on the other hand, is believed to be a highly respectable skill, the foundation of medicine, useful in combat, and roughly as important as writing. All gentlemen are expected to have at least a passing knowledge, and all respectable schools will have it as part of their curriculum. There are a few philosophies that reject it, claiming that it upsets the natural order, or that its potential dangers outweigh the benefits, but these are about as popular as normal religions that reject modern medicine, which is to say not very.

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