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Magic, Elements, and Technology / Zealian schools of magic - revised
« on: November 24, 2014, 07:35:24 am »
The following is a revamped account of magic in the world of Chrono, and, specifically, how the people of Zeal classify it and train in its use.  I wanted to lean away from strictly elemental descriptions such as fire, water, or lightning, as well as esoteric concepts like Shadow (darkness/evil).  The casting of magic is all about a state of mind and what that state can achieve.  The way that power is manifested in a given school can vary greatly, so describing a school as "water", for example, really doesn't explain what all can be done with that particular discipline.  I am making these changes in the interests of my ongoing novel series, which will incorporate these concepts when magic is first introduced to the reader at The End of Time, and explained more fully in book two when Crono's adventures in Zeal take place.

Zealians are given a general education in the magical arts at a young age, and most people gain rudimentary ability in several different schools.  They are not mutually exclusive.  Training in one school will not preclude training in another, even if certain elemental manifestations of differing schools, like fire and ice, would seem to oppose each other.  That said, the great majority of Zealians dedicate their lives to the mastery of a single school and often avoid training in others.  The mental discipline it takes to achieve the correct state of mind for each school is difficult, and only exceptional individuals achieve mastery of more than one school.  To achieve mastery of three is a feat usually reserved for the most potent of bloodlines, such as the Imperial Family or that of the Gurus.  Mastery of four schools is something only one person - Schala - has ever been able to achieve.  No one on record has mastered all five schools.

The five schools of magic all invoke certain emotional states and use discipline to guide the user's will into useful applications.  The stronger the discipline, the more power and control the user has over the abilities his or her school can manifest.  An untrained mind, driven to emotional turmoil, can manifest great power as well, but the uncontrolled nature of such outbursts are often exhausting and inefficient, even dangerous.  However, it can be just as likely that an emotionally turbulent individual, unable to focus on any one mental state, cannot effectively channel anything.  This is most often seen in the very young, and even a strong bloodline - as in the case of Prince Janus - cannot overcome a lack of mental fortitude.  This must be considered in the training of every school.  The five schools are as follows:

Passion:  Passion is the power of self.  It channels the desire of the individual into power that can mold the world around the user however he or she chooses.  This power often manifests itself in the form of fire.  In terms of sheer strength, Passion is the strongest of the five schools.  A focused channeling of Passion can melt the hardest of metals and turn solid stone into liquid fire.  The destructive potential of Passion is without limit, and is mitigated only by the desire of the user.  For this reason, Passion is also the most dangerous school.  An individual's desires can well exceed their ability to effectively channel those desires into power - sometimes ending in a self-immolation or more wide-ranging calamity.  Because of its ability to melt and mold various elements together, Passion is often the province of builders and architects.  An aptitude for Passion is often triggered by a desire to change the world.  Practitioners have a tendency to be overconfident and even narcissistic, particularly when they are young.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, powerful feelings of anger or love can manifest unfocused channeling of fire.

Energy:  Energy is the power of transformation.  It transforms the will of the user into raw energy that can be directed either outward or inward.  This power often manifests itself in the form of lightning, though great physical prowess can also be attributed to an Energy user.  Due to its ability to direct power and enhance strength, Energy is often the province of guardians or warriors, and is the school of choice for a dedicated magical duelist.  Great care must be taken with the use of Energy.  It is possible to enhance strength well beyond what a practitioner's body can withstand, and the outward applications of this school are no less perilous if poorly channeled.  An aptitude for Energy is often triggered by a desire for self-improvement and the ability to protect others.  Practitioners have a tendency to focus on the moment, and are very decisive when it comes to taking action.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, powerful feelings of fear or single-minded focus can manifest unfocused channeling of lightning, or a surge in strength.

Force:  Force is the power of matter.  It channels the wishes of the user into the power to manipulate the world around them.  This power can manifest itself in many ways, but it is usually in the form of a telekinetic feat; moving and shaping matter with the power of the mind.  Force is the most versatile of the five schools, and has applications for almost any endeavor.  It can move the heaviest of objects, hurl them at extreme velocities, condense moisture into a block of solid ice, or condense air into an impenetrable screen.  An expert practitioner of Force can use their telekinetic abilities to protect themselves against almost anything, whether it be an environmental hazard or an attack.  An aptitude for Force is often triggered by a desire to change one's circumstance.  Practitioners have a tendency to be emotional and sometimes erratic, and this must always be borne in mind when training a Force user.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, powerful feelings of despair and loss can manifest an unintended telekinetic feat.

Healing:  Healing is the power of the body.  It channels the will of the user into a power that can rejuvenate living things.  This power usually manifests itself in the healing of the sick or the injured, but it can also be used to drain the energy of another if the user desires.  This school is unique in that its applications are only useful to the living.  It can accelerate and enhance a body's natural healing process to cure diseases, heal wounds, or purge maladies.  It is important to note that the power of Healing does not come solely from the user, rather the user simply enervates what is already there.  Therefore, Healing powers cannot be used to bring people back from the dead.  Expert use of the Healing school can extend a normal lifespan by many decades, but even this has limits.  A Zealian under the lifetime care of an accomplished Healing user can live about 180 years, and in rare cases as many as 200.  An aptitude for Healing is triggered by an intense desire to help others.  Practitioners have a tendency to be sympathetic to those of lesser standing or circumstance.  Barring formal training in the Zealian ways, a user can unconsciously heal minor injuries to themselves or others by pressing hands on the wound.

Dreams:  Dreams are the power of the soul.  Unlike the other four schools of magic, the applications of Dreams are useful only in the metaphysical plane.  It is the province of thinkers and philosophers, people who contemplate questions such as the meaning of life and the nature of existence.  It is the most difficult of the five schools to master, and some would say that mastery isn't possible.  Through the use of Dreams, people can analyze the realm of the subconscious, both in themselves and in others.  A practitioner of Dreams can enter the mind of another person and guide their unconscious thoughts, so long as the recipient is willing.  However, expert users can move well beyond entering the dreams of mortals and can enter the dream of the World itself.  Gurus of the ancient past spoke of a singular unfocused, yet all-encompassing consciousness that spanned both the physical and metaphysical planes.  One who heard the song of the World, it was said, could gain insight into the past, or even the future.  People who can enter the dream of the World are extrodinarily rare, and only a small number of those people can understand what the dream is telling them.  Practitioners of Dreams must have a strong sense of self.  Those who do not, or who falter, suffer cruel fates.  Their essenses can become trapped in the mind of another.  They can question who they are, or if their existence is even real.  The most terrible fate is that of a Je'saal'ook (roughly translated "The foolish transformed"), who, through becoming lost in a dream and questioning his or her own nature, transformed themselves into a non-human form without the ability to change back.  Due to the inherent dangers of the Dreaming school of magic, novice practitioners are closely monitored by Elders and high-ranking Adepts.  Everyone has a certain aptitude for Dreaming, but to make any practical use of it requires extensive training.  There are no records of anyone without training developing useful skill.

Jumping out of encyclopedia mode, it isn't hard to guess which characters are suited to which schools.  Lucca is the poster-girl for Passion and takes it up to eleven.  Crono is the perennial Energy practitioner.  And Marle would be anyone's best friend in a scorching desert - or if you need someone to help you move the furniture.  Where things might differ a bit from expectations is how some of the characters in the story combine different schools to achieve their full potential.  Lucca, for example, isn't a one-trick fire pony.  She also develops skill in Force magic, but uses it in a very different way from Marle's applications.  Lucca's barrier skill is taylor-made to protect herself - and only herself - from enemy attack.  And "Flare" is a fire attack backed up by a telekinetic Force bubble or thrust to either explode at a desired point or to penetrate the defenses of powerful opponents.  Other magic practitioners use their schools to aid themselves and their allies in ways appropriate to their skillset and disposition, and with different levels of efficacy.  Dreams are harder to quantify.  Magus develops considerable skill in Dreams, but only in response to an important plot point involving Lucca.  Lucca herself gains some experience from this event, but can only ever link minds with Magus.  Glenn has a bond with the Masamune, but often has difficulty making sense of what the child-like spirits of the blade tell him.  And Crono and Marle share an empathic link in close proximity but cannot manage true telepathy or thought guidance with themselves or anyone else.  Obviously, I use Dreams as something of a plot device to advance character interaction and to establish certain limits on the characters.  Any other thoughts on the nature of this new magic classification and how it can be applied to the world of Chrono would be welcome.

In a rather startling change of tone for the company, Square-Enix president Yosuke Matsuda has admitted that the company "lost it's focus" when attempting to make games for a wide global audience.  This change in attitude was apparently spurred by poor sales of recent Square-Enix titles in Japan, and unexpectedly high sales of the more traditional JRPG "Bravely Default", which the company considered to be only a niche title at its release.

"Not only did they end up being games that weren’t for the Japanese," said Matsuda on the company's recent slate of Japanese titles, "but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren’t even fit for a global audience.”

I find it encouraging that Square-Enix is publicly expressing contrition on their policy of chasing the mass market instead of focusing on what made them great in the past.  It remains to be seen if this is anything more than rhetoric, but I'm hoping it's a sign of a much-needed change in corporate culture.  Certainly, this represents a possibility that a Chrono remake/sequel might actually be on the table sometime in the future.  At the very least, a change in attitude and focus will bear fruit in whatever IP they pursue.  Thoughts, anyone?

News Submissions / Chrono Trigger: Episode 1 - Part 1 January 2014 update
« on: January 13, 2014, 05:59:30 am »
Hello all,

Do you like Chrono Fan-fiction?  Do you love the original story so much that you would like to see it retold in greater detail?  Do you like... surprises?  :wink:  Would you like to see Crono, Marle, and Lucca come to life like never before?  Your wish is granted.  This latest update to my ongoing Chrono Trigger novel project covers every event between the Millennial Fair and the escape from Guardia Castle.  For those of you already familiar with the project, this update includes all 13 previously released chapters - newly re-edited - along with four new ones, all in one pdf file.  If you aren't familiar with the project, its quality and its scope may surprise you.  And this is only the beginning.  Find it here:

Fan Fiction / Chrono Trigger: Episode 1 - Part 1 January 2014 update
« on: January 13, 2014, 04:34:58 am »
Greetings Compendiumites.

The next installment of my Chrono Trigger novel project is ready for the Compendium's enjoyment and review.  I know it's been a long time since my last update, and I apologize for that.  Crono's trial was one of the most challenging things for me to visualize and put into narrative.  This is one of the slower moments of the story, and finding the right balance between pacing and a satisfying portrayal of the event was a source of much head-banging on my keyboard.  I felt that putting Lucca in the same boat as Crono, at least as far as the kidnapping charge is concerned, was key to making the scene work.  (That was inspired by a piece of fan-art that had Lucca cry “Objection!” at the top of her lungs a-la Phoenix Wright.)  Showing the trial from Princess Nadia's perspective also was very helpful, and not something that most people would expect since Nadia was not present at the trial in the original game.  You will find numerous surprises in the new material, including the origins of the name “Marle”, as well as a couple of hints of what I intend to do regarding the characters of Chrono Cross.  I can already hear the “That's not canon!” complaints on that score.  Just understand that I have thought this through to some extent, and keep an open mind.  Remember that this is a remake more than a rehash.

Unlike my previous updates, and on the advice from some of you, I have decided to post the entirety of what I have written to date in a single pdf file.  The first 13 chapters have been given a much needed re-edit, resulting in hundreds of minor corrections and clarifications.  Most important was the resolving of a plot hole regarding Queen Leene's captivity and Yakra's original plans for her, which I should have caught a long time ago.  This is no small piece of fan-fiction, and I hesitate to even call it that since I've put my very best effort into it.  It totals 241 pages of single-spaced material across 17 chapters.  It covers all of the events between the Millennial Fair and the moment that Crono, Marle, and Lucca escape from Guardia Castle and enter the temporal gate to the ruined future.  For those that want to skip straight to the new material, it begins on page 186.

This represents somewhere between the ¼ and 1/3rd point of book one in a four volume series.  Having this much published material is a big moment for me, so I greatly value any feedback the community can give me.

Happy belated new year, and happy reading!

Chrono Compendium Discussion / Trouble posting attachments
« on: January 12, 2014, 09:57:17 pm »
I'm getting a 513 error when I attempt to post a 1000 kb (1 Mb) attachment to the fan-fiction thread.  Since it's clearly stated that the maximum size for attachments is 6000 kb, I wonder what is going on?  I would really like to post an update to my ongoing novel project.  (It was ready on Friday night, but I had to put it off because of the server move.)  :(

News Submissions / Physicist: Time travel possible
« on: September 15, 2013, 11:14:33 pm »
A University of Manchester physicist has claimed that the dream of traveling through time is by no means impossible.  Just don't expect to do it at 88 mph.

Brian Cox said that travel into the future would be possible through simply going really really fast, accelerating to a velocity near the speed of light.  Under Einstein's Theory of Relativity, a person traveling at near-light speeds would be experiencing time at a much slower rate compared to that of the surrounding universe.  Scientists explain this phenomenon through the "Twin Paradox": Imagine twins, one stays on Earth (Twin A) while the other (Twin B) boards a spaceship and flies off at relativistic speeds. Compared with Twin A’s timeframe, Twin B’s timeframe will slow. If time is running slower for Twin B, then he/she will return to Earth where a lot more time has passed and Twin A has aged significantly more than Twin B. The mechanism behind this is “time dilation” and it has a stronger effect as you travel closer and closer to the speed of light.  However, traveling through time in this fashion would be a one-way trip.  Returning to the time of your departure, or to another point in the past, would not be possible using conventional means.  You need a wormhole to do that.  And that introduces a slew of new problems.  How do you create the wormhole in the first place?  How do you make it lead to the desired point in space-time?  How do you maintain its stability?  Neither quantum mechanics nor the theory of relativity provide the full answer to these questions.  We can ask Lucca, of course, but her answer would be completely incomprehensible to us laypeople.

General Discussion / Square-Enix president Yoichi Wada resigns
« on: April 10, 2013, 05:51:50 am »
Apparently, the critical success of three of Square-Enix's latest titles (Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs) were not enough to reverse the downward trend of the company.  Following the news of an expected 10 billion yen loss, Square-Enix's long-time president Yoichi Wada is calling it quits.  He is expected to be replaced by vice-president Yosuke Matsuda.

Although Wada's departure will probably be celebrated by many Compendiumites, the fact that even successful titles cannot right the sinking ship is very disheartening.  It's been said that since S/E specializes mainly in single-player IPs, it can no longer effectively compete against AAA titles with a strong multiplayer component.  This fact will no doubt be on the mind of the incoming Matsuda, who has promised a "comprehensive review" of the company.

"I'd like to fundamentally review what works and what doesn't work for our company," said Matsuda, "then cast all of our resources towards extending what makes us successful and thoroughly squeezing out what doesn't."

It's difficult to know what the company will look like when the restructuring is complete, except that it will be very different.  It may be that what gets "squeezed out" is the idea of a big-budget single-player experience.  That would effectively end Final Fantasy as we know it, to say nothing about a Chrono sequel or remake.  A contributing factor to the decision will be the very disappointing sales figures from North America (not including digital sales, which have not been compiled) this fiscal year.

So what does everyone think about Square-Enix's future post-Wada?

Chrono / Gameplay Casual Discussion / Chrono Cross on NPR
« on: December 10, 2012, 09:08:54 pm »
I was listening to NPR while at work and got an unexpected treat on "All Things Considered".  They did an article about this French-Canadian violinist translating video game music into classical arrangements.  Mentioned were the soundtracks of Angry Birds, Tetris, and Halo 3.  I was waiting with bated breath to see if any of the Chrono games would be mentioned.  They weren't.  Just when I was about to dismiss the article as an opportunity missed, the piece was anchored by the main theme from Chrono Cross.

Although not mentioned by name, we had some arranged Chrono music being performed on national radio for 15 seconds.  That, I think, can only bode well for the future.

So what does everyone think of this latest innovation in gaming?  Is this a superior model to the old convention of game-rentals to try out new titles?  Or is this the beginning of another type of fleecing on the order of DLC, destined to dominate the gaming landscape if we let it take root?  Judging from historical patterns, I am inclined to be pessimistic.

After far too many months, the next four chapters of my ambitious Chrono Trigger novel project are ready for the Compendium's review.

Find the chapters and related points here:,9884.0.html

As always, I am eager for input and thoughts as to the way I am portraying canon events from the game.  I take a fair number of liberties, but with the goal of making the story and characters as compelling as possible while staying true to the spirit of the original material.

Fan Fiction / Chrono Trigger: Episode I - Chapters 10 - 13
« on: August 23, 2012, 10:38:25 pm »
Hello all!  My four-book Chrono Trigger novel project continues!  So sorry about the long wait since the last set of chapters was released.  I hope everyone thinks the wait was worth it.

Before you peruse the much-delayed new chapters, I should make note of a few important corrections I've made to the previous chapters - corrections that have a direct bearing on the new material.
(Note: The corrected versions of these chapters are not currently posted, as they are presently little different from the original postings.)

Toward the end of Chapter 5, Magus was described as the "Great Betrayer".  I wrote this to drive home the fact that Magus is clearly human and not Mystic, despite the pointed ears.  I decided to change this because that moniker suggests that Magus was either from Guardia originally or had served it in some official capacity - which clearly did not happen.  His title has since been changed to "Dark Lord" (not exactly original, but fitting).  It is usually humans who describe him this way.  Mystics usually describe him more formally as the "Savior of Je'saal" - Je'saal being the term by which the collection of demi-human races that make up the Mystics refer themselves.

In Chapter 6, Sergeant Kensington mentions that it had been "fifteen years to the day" when Cyrus first came to the Knights seeking royal service.  I decided that this would make Cyrus (and Glenn) a little too young to have achieved the esteemed position that he did by the year 590 (when he is killed by Magus).  In my revised timeline, Cyrus was 17 years old when he enlisted with the Knights, and Glenn was 16.  War with the Mystics broke out six years later, and the year after that (589) Cyrus is promoted to Captain of the Knights of Guardia - the highest position among them.  I believe a man barely past twenty (as Cyrus was in my original timeline) would not be considered for such a lofty position unless the enemy were breaking down the gates of castle, and perhaps not even then.  At the time of his death, Cyrus is 25.  Glenn is transformed into a frog by Magus at age 24, so when he meets Crono and Lucca in the year 600, he is 34 years old.  I believe this age most accurately describes Glenn's level of experience, and I felt it was important to have an older character as part of the core group.  In Chapter 10, Glenn (as "Frog") will clearly state that he had been in royal service for 18 years, though not in what capacity.

Guards at the Millennial Fair were generically referred to as soldiers in Chapters 1 and 2.  I think the term "constable" is a more accurate description, since their duties consist mainly of law enforcement in the city.  The change is reflected in Chapter 13.

For those who are new, or otherwise unfamiliar with this project, here are the links to the previous nine chapters:,8892.0.html,9376.0.html

Chapter 10 begins shortly after the initial battle in Manoria Cathedral.  I greatly look forward to feedback.  Happy reading!

I stumbled across a fascinating article via Steam that tells the story of a Civilization II game (a game that came out in the 1990s) that lasted for ten years.  Ten real world years.  He posted his experiences on Reddit and it went viral - people writing fan fiction and art based on the unique events of his campaign.

I think it's interesting that people can still be engrossed in a PC game that is nearly as old as Chrono Trigger.  That says something about the quality of the game design and the gameplay balance.  Firaxis must be tickled pink to read stuff like this.

General Discussion / Fallout fan site threatened by Bethesda
« on: April 25, 2012, 09:49:33 pm »
The war between regular people (that is, we the fans) and intellectual property holders seems to be intensifying, and that should be of great concern to everyone here.

The short version is that a fan of the Fallout franchise started a website for freely downloadable Fallout-inspired posters.  Bethesda's lawyers claimed the site was infringing on their intellectual property rights, and demanded that the fan art be removed and the domain name,, be handed over to Bethesda.  As of this writing the art has been removed, but the fan has refused to hand over the domain name.  I do not know if further legal action is pending, but the removal of the art alone is a disheartening victory for the opponents of free expression.  We need to monitor this situation carefully, as it represents a clear and present danger to the Compendium and every other fan site out there.

Read the full story here:

Kajar Laboratories / Chrono Cross rewrite
« on: February 12, 2012, 04:43:36 am »
As many of you know, I am in the middle of an ambitious project to write a Chrono Trigger novel that is essentially a remake of CT and a sequel/resolution to Chrono Cross.  My outlining work has now reached the point where I have to make some very important decisions regarding Chrono Cross.

I think most of us would agree that Chrono Cross has some serious narrative issues that make the story difficult to follow.  The connections to Chrono Trigger are often vague, and are explained mostly in a huge wall of text near the end of the game - and still do not make complete sense in context to the events of CC.  This makes the prospect of a true resolution to Cross - one that's consistent with existing canon - seemingly unmanageable.

I have concluded that it is unmanageable.

There are simply too many problems with Chrono Cross in its existing form to translate into an effective narrative that ties into Chrono Trigger - either the established canon or my remake of that story.  So I have decided to make a beginning of the impossible: Take the characters, locations, situations, and themes of Chrono Cross and rebuild the story from the ground up using more sound narrative principles.  If this sounds similar to what I'm already doing with the Chrono Trigger novel, it isn't.  For the most part, that project only expands on existing canon and makes very few actual changes to it.  For Chrono Cross, I would have to make so many changes to canon to make the story work that people familiar with it would think they are looking at an alternate reality featuring the same characters.

So how does one rewrite Chrono Cross without it being considered a completely different story?  Let me first say that I do not have the complete answer to that question, as I have been thinking about this seriously for only a few days.  But I do know where to start.  The problem with the original Chrono Cross was inherently structural: there were too many characters to sustain the plot.  The effect of the overly large cast, I think, went well beyond diluting character development.  I think it made plot holes difficult to spot and even more difficult to deal with.  Had the plot been developed through a smaller number of key characters, I think the problems would have been detected early and corrected.  Instead, we get the impression of a story threatening to spin out of control the closer it gets to the end.  It didn't completely implode, but it didn't completely work, either.  So the first thing we do to correct the problem is reduce the number of principal characters to something manageable.  The question then becomes: who do we keep as mains, and who do we demote or dismiss?

To answer this, we have to first consider two things: who do we find interesting, and who can we most relate to?  Redundant characters are thus pushed aside, and especially odd characters - like the tiny alien and the strawman - are also sidelined.  We've eliminated 3/4 of the cast.  The next task is to establish the story's theme and pick the characters best qualified to represent that theme.  Chrono Cross at its core is a story of love and loss.  We've pared the cast down even further.  The last thing to consider is which characters can be directly, or potentially, linked to the characters or events of Chrono Trigger.  Among non-antagonists, we are left with five: Serge, Kid, Leena, Magil (Guile), and Harle.  The structural problem has been fixed.  Now we determine who these people are, how they relate to one another, and why they are important.

I'll continue this thread tomorrow and share some more thoughts.  Anyone is welcome to make suggestions on what shape a rewritten Chrono Cross should take.  Yes, I know I'm crazy for even thinking this.

Site Updates / Chrono Trigger: Episode I July update
« on: July 13, 2011, 01:25:24 am »
After a months-long hiatus, an update to my Chrono Trigger novel project is finally ready for the Compendium's review.  For those unfamiliar with the project, it is a very ambitious undertaking with four key goals:

#1. Reinvent the Chrono Trigger mythos for a new generation of fans while staying true to the core story and spirit of the original game.
#2. Establish what happened at the end of Chrono Cross and the ultimate legacy of Schala's actions.
#3. Incorporate certain characters and situations from selected fan projects into a unified vision.
#4. Establish a definitive beginning, middle, and end to the Chrono mythos encompassing four full-length novels.

The latest chapters of Episode I can be found here:,9376.0.html

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