Author Topic: Josh's Magic Guide to the Chrono Series  (Read 12499 times)

Lord J Esq

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Josh's Magic Guide to the Chrono Series
« on: January 27, 2005, 03:29:50 am »
I know there are about a zillion Magic topics on this board already, so forgive me for adding another shrimp to the Barbee here, but I didn't want this to get sunk in the ocean of some long thread where others are already carrying out lively conversations and might find this to be a disruption. Feedback is encouraged.

~~~~~
Josh’s Magic Guide to the Chrono Series
Total MS Word editing time: 100 minutes (exactly!)
Terminology Notes: Do not confuse “Elementals” (CT’s four substances), “Dragonian Elements,” (CC’s six colors), and “Equippable Elements,” (the CC equips).

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1. The Elementals: Planet Power

Let the Elementals represent the substance of the Entity—that is, of the entire planet’s life-force. Lightning and Shadow embody its essence (genius), while Fire and Water represent its will (numen). Each of these pairs are diametric opposites and provide the world with its living animation, or verve.

The exploitation of these energies comprise magic as we think of it throughout most of Chrono Trigger. This is the magic that Zeal used before Lavos came into the picture, and is the source of Spekkio’s power. Being “Planet Magic,” we can assume that this is some good, strong, virtuous stuff. It is also the magic that Crono & Co. used.

Elemental Innateness signifies that all living beings are a part of the greater whole all around them; i.e., the planet that animates them. Excepted from “all living beings” are any tendrils of influence reaching from Lavos into humans and elsewhere in the world.

Notes:

1. All living activity on a planet like ours (and hence Crono’s) is like a web of restive energy captured from the sun. Zeal’s enigmatic Sun Stone, therefore, can be construed as a potent curator of the world’s energy, channeling all four Elementals simultaneously. Thus, the sun nourishes the planet, and we have no violations of physics so far…just some highfalutin legerdemain.

2. Spekkio might be the Gestalt representative of the power that follows from the planet’s energy, hence his title as Master of War, which would be more an affirmation that the world is alive and in motion and in possession of awesome potentials, rather than an implication that he is some berserk warmonger. The stronger Crono & Co. become, the more they are able to manifest the complexity of the planet’s energies, and they phase piecemeal into perceiving Spekkio’s ultimate form.

3. Why did Spekkio say Elemental magic “not exist” as far back as 65 million B.C.? This is a deceptive question, because it does exist in that time, used by Crono & Co. on many occasions, even before Lavos arrives. These guys might be good, yes, but they aren’t creating that magic out of thin air. Instead, perhaps what Spekkio meant is that no one in 65 million B.C.—Ayla included—is able to manifest Elemental magic at the level that it becomes “magic” per se…like trying to teach a gorilla to play Mozart. The fingers are there, but the sophistication is not. Likewise, those 65 million years of evolution have to count for something. Thus, I would posit that only very highly advanced beings like contemporary humans can manifest Elemental substance in the form of usable Elemental magic.

~~~
2. Lavos Energy: Planet Power as Seen through a Dark Mirror

Lavos energy is antithetical to the planet’s substance, but it is not directly corresponding in its representation. Instead, “Lavos energy” suggests a single form with no elemental components defined. Lavos feeds on the Elementals, and regurgitates some of that substance back into the world to strengthen its grip. Examples of these tendrils include the Mother Brain, who is either in league with or enthralled by Lavos, the Masamune, ascended from a simple knife by the Mammon Machine, and of course the Mammon Machine itself. These three entities, and many others which Lavos affected, had an enormous influence in the history of the world, and their source is not wisely forgotten.

However, far and away the most important form of Lavos energy is the Frozen Flame. More than simply a “piece” of Lavos, I think it has a more special meaning than that. Forgive me the vanity of quoting myself from the GameFAQs boards:

Quote from: Josh
What does the Frozen Flame do?

The Frozen Flame is like the One Ring, the essence of Lavos captured in earthly Dreamstone. It is supposedly responsible for a great deal of influence in human thinking over the ages. It bestows incredible powers upon its wielder, but it isn't a passive object of power like the Triforce in Zelda. Instead, it plays an active hand in things. You might say it has a sort of mind of its own.

Given Lavos' nature, the Frozen Flame does not exist completely in normal time—like its name suggests—and it apparently can be utilized for time manipulation. That much was said explicitly in Radical Dreamers, and implied in Chrono Cross by the Chronopolis facilities.

The Frozen Flame almost single-handedly represents all that is wicked and vile in humanity. Lavos is a corruption of the planet, and to a lesser extent, humans reflect this by existing in a duality where they are both themselves and a corruption of themselves. Their capacity for good and evil is a function of the planet and Lavos’ antagonism of the planet, and the mechanism for this is the Frozen Flame. In my recollection it is the only instance in the Chrono series in which playing characters use Lavos energy directly…but boy! “Use” is an understatement.

Notes:

1. An interesting inconsistency in Chrono Trigger is that the machines in 2300 suggest that the world could sustain the Lavos spawn if humans went extinct, but at the final confrontation with Lavos it is deduced that Lavos feeds not only on the Elementals in general but on the DNA of living beings in particular, and thus would stand to lose a very elegant meal if humanity really did go the way of the dodo. Lavos would not be able to continue to exist if the planet were to die out. However, this may simply be Lavos in its larval, “pre-awakening” stage. Lavos doesn’t seem all that hungry after it awakens.

2. Lavos corrupted human sentience through the Frozen Flame. This brings to mind the old question of whether Lavos itself is sentient or not. Nothing it does in the series actually indicates it has its own being. Lavos energy, remember, is simply a corruption of the Elementals.

~~~
3. Dragonian Elements: Aesthetic Reconstitution of Planet Power

The closest equivalent of the Dragon God is the Mammon Machine. The Dragon God was a fantastical device constructed by the Reptites—in a dimension where they prevailed against humanity—used to focus the Elementals. The Mammon Machine, likewise, was a device built by humans to focus the treacherous Lavos energy. The difference is that the Dragon God might be interpreted as having the endorsement of the Entity—that is, the planet’s living spirit—given that the Reptites are said to have been in much closer communion with the natural order of the world, whereas the Mammon Machine relied on the energy produced by the external parasite Lavos, which itself fed on the Elementals, which the Entity no doubt lamented very much.

The Dragon God was no doubt much like the Sun Stone in that it represented all four Elementals simultaneously. We never get to see the “true” Dragon God, but this is affirmed by the quasi-Dragon God, who is able to command all Dragonian Elements: Light (white), Shadow (black), Air (yellow), Water (blue), Fire (red), and Earth (green). While we have yet to reconcile these six Dragonian Elements with the planet’s four Elementals, we can already deduce that “all” Dragonian Elements correspond with “all” Elementals.

When FATE sundered the Dragon God, the division was arbitrary and not representative of the true four fundamental Elementals. The six do not correspond with the four in any way, not even in apparently obvious modes such as Dragonian Red to Elemental Fire. Instead, the Dragonian Elements are an aesthetic division, and each of the six Elements very likely draws on some or all of the primary Elementals. This arrangement nevertheless operates cleanly, a testament to the grace of FATE.

We do know something about the mechanism of operation of the Dragon God: the so-called power points across the world where the substance of the planet wellsprings. Under the auspices of the six Dragons, people used these power points to manufacture biotechnologies that harnessed this energy and use it to create reproducible, consistent effects. These would be the Equippable Elements equipped by Serge & Co. in Chrono Cross. They are derivative of the Dragonian Elements and ultimately are sustained by the Elementals, yet do not require their users to be able to manifest Elemental magic as Crono & Co. did. Even the likes of Ayla would be able to equip these Equippable Elements.

Equippable Element Innateness signifies a person’s natural proclivity toward a particular arrangement of Elementals as represented by a respective Dragonian Element.

Notes:

1. The Dragon God was tainted by Lavos before being sundered by FATE, which itself was also tainted by Lavos. Thus, Equippable Elements are not pure.

Symmetry

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Josh's Magic Guide to the Chrono Series
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2005, 05:02:05 pm »
I think it's interesting that the spells Zealians seem to like using don't line up neatly with a particular element. Look at the magic the Queen uses in her various forms.

I know it's been refuted that a "Lavos Magic" exists, but I think it's pretty clear that Lavos has twisted the Planet's natural energies for his own purposes. I think "Planet Power as Seen through a Dark Mirror" is a fantastic way of wording this.

I think that's also why the rest of Zeal - outside the Gurus, who recognize the true source of Lavos' power - seems to think that Janus lacks any magical ability whatsoever. Perhaps, for some reason or another, he never "taps into" Lavos and thus his magical talent is realized as the natural magical energy of the Planet. It's also why the Zealians laugh at Crono & Co's arcane power, even though Crono & Co probably could have cut down virtually any Zealian standing before them.

Faulce

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Josh's Magic Guide to the Chrono Series
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2005, 12:05:12 pm »
Quote from: Lord J esq
Let the Elementals represent the substance of the Entity—that is, of the entire planet’s life-force. Lightning and Shadow embody its essence (genius), while Fire and Water represent its will (numen). Each of these pairs are diametric opposites and provide the world with its living animation, or verve.

Hmm, Spekkio says that ALL things are based on the balance of these 4 elements, so wouldnt the Elementals represent the substance of the universe and not just the substance of the Entity, or planet?
Quote from: Lord J esq
Why did Spekkio say Elemental magic “not exist” as far back as 65 million B.C.? This is a deceptive question, because it does exist in that time, used by Crono & Co. on many occasions, even before Lavos arrives. These guys might be good, yes, but they aren’t creating that magic out of thin air. Instead, perhaps what Spekkio meant is that no one in 65 million B.C.—Ayla included—is able to manifest Elemental magic at the level that it becomes “magic” per se…like trying to teach a gorilla to play Mozart. The fingers are there, but the sophistication is not. Likewise, those 65 million years of evolution have to count for something. Thus, I would posit that only very highly advanced beings like contemporary humans can manifest Elemental substance in the form of usable Elemental magic.

Lavos via the Frozen Flame and his own methods helped mankind through evolution. He is the reason why we can harness the 4 elements. Spekkio said that Ayla was born before MAGIC existed, not the elements. The elements govern the universe, harnessed, they become magic.
I'm not really sure about most of your other points either, they seem either slightly off or incomplete. But I dont have all of the answers so I will leave the "correcting" to someone else.

GrayLensman

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Re: Josh's Magic Guide to the Chrono Series
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 01:20:50 am »
Quote from: Lord J esq
Lightning and Shadow embody its essence (genius), while Fire and Water represent its will (numen). Each of these pairs are diametric opposites and provide the world with its living animation, or verve.


I think you made some very good points, but I'm not sure where this was supposed to come from.

I'd also like to point out that the magical elements are a universal phenomenon.  The actual energy utilized by magic users may originate from the planet, but this energy also exists everywhere.

GreenGannon

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Josh's Magic Guide to the Chrono Series
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2005, 04:03:16 pm »
Just to provide Faulce's quotes.


SPEKKIO: All right!
   Sweetheart!

   Unfortunately, you were born before
   magic existed! But you seem to have
   other skills that will get you by.


SPEKKIO: Not just magic, but
   EVERYTHING is based on the balance
   of these 4 powers.

razor's edge

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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2005, 11:55:59 pm »
Quote from: Symmetry
I think that's also why the rest of Zeal - outside the Gurus, who recognize the true source of Lavos' power - seems to think that Janus lacks any magical ability whatsoever. Perhaps, for some reason or another, he never "taps into" Lavos and thus his magical talent is realized as the natural magical energy of the Planet. It's also why the Zealians laugh at Crono & Co's arcane power, even though Crono & Co probably could have cut down virtually any Zealian standing before them.

Well, one of the Enlightened Ones states that one of the Gurus(I forget which one) said Janus's powers may even surpass Schala's. So if the Gurus knew Janus was a powerful innate, they may have prevented Janus from being 'Mammonized', for lack of a better term.

GreenGannon

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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2005, 12:11:15 am »
Maybe his power can only be used out of anger, true unadalturated anger. He hated Lavos, and anyone that stood in his way.

Besides, his strength does get zapped by Lavos in the Ocean Palace, so I'm tempted to think he was mammonized, or at least gained some strength from the Ocean Palace event in the Lavos timeline.

ZeaLitY

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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2005, 12:39:14 am »
Well, that can apply to anyone. Even today, I was angry that I didn't get to play with some girl in racquetball, so I played amazingly against these two arrogant dudes. They were good, but my partner and I literally trashed them. I gave 120%.

At least she watched.

Leebot

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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2005, 08:13:35 am »
When I get angry, I get careless. For me, strength comes from inner peace.

EDIT: Mental note: consider Buddhism.

razor's edge

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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2005, 03:33:34 pm »
I don't think magic and anger would be a good mix...I'd think magic would require some mental concentration.

Sure, anger can help in sports, but when doing something akin to bending the elemental forces of nature to your will I think some focus would be needed.

GreenGannon

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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2005, 02:54:58 am »
Maybe his pure, unbridled hatred for Lavos lets him focus?

sarua

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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2005, 04:01:33 pm »
Chrono triger isn`t dbz or naruto. Hatred can`t help in such situation, it just makes problems.

saridon

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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2005, 11:37:56 pm »
not nesacerally anger can highten your senses

ZeaLitY

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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2005, 01:53:20 am »
Great discussion we have here.

Leebot

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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2005, 08:59:26 am »
Anger, among other effects such as impaired judgment, causes a release of adrenaline. The effects of adrenaline vary quite a bit, but always include increased energy. Some possible effects are:

-Increased physical strength
-Sharpened senses
-Increased mental acuity
-Dampening of pain
-Eustress (the opposite of distress)

So, it is possible for anger to increase mental capabilities, but it will also result in less control.