Author Topic: Magic and the Elements of the Chrono Series  (Read 12471 times)

ZeaLitY

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Magic and the Elements of the Chrono Series
« on: February 15, 2005, 12:59:48 am »
This is it! The article WIP. If you have any final issues, post them here.

~- Magic and Elements in the Chrono Series -~

Magic and RPGs have long been inseparable; just as tales of wizards and miraculous feats have long entranced readers and peoples of ancient cultures and beliefs, magic invigorates the combat of games by offering spells and systems accompanied by flashy animations and effects. A sizable portion of a game's code is devoted to the system of magic it uses, and developers attempt to innovate with each new creation – whereas Final Fantasy VI employed the user of Espers to cultivate spells, its successor contains an order of Materia, and so on. Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross too possess magic, and its derivates; Trigger had memorable and beautiful incantations (including Double and Triple Techs, favorites among fans), while Cross's battle system was praised by reviewers for its very unique qualities. As with its other facets, combat in the Chrono series excelled among its peers and is a defining aspect of the games.

However, magic isn't limited to gameplay in the series – not by far! The plots of the games are interweaved with magic, which permeates every era. Several memories come to mind; one can remember that the apes of Ayla's kind were mutated into current humans through the Frozen Flame, allowing them to use magic. The Kingdom of Zeal, in all its glory, intelligence, and majesty, was founded upon magic, and utilized artifacts with stored energy to thrive. The Mystics of the Middle Ages were a threat to the mighty Kingdom of Guardia because of their magical exploits, and far in the future, a time-traveling vehicle and the most sophisticated research facility on time ever conceived were realized through Belthasar's retained knowledge of sorcery. Even the salvation of the universe from the Time Devourer rested on the manipulation of El Nido's Elements. So it's established – magic is an important part of the plot. But does the trade of the Mystics and the wizards of Zeal transcend this definition? Like the sweeping scope of Chrono Trigger, and the intricacies of the rich plot of Chrono Cross, Magic too has had much thought put into it, and its examination reveals an intelligent design and consistency between games. Magic isn't merely some supernatural force that only heroes can call on thanks to a weird looking guy in the End of Time. Its roots and details go much deeper, reaffirming the color and depth of the Chrono series that has allured its fans for a decade.

Let's get started! Chrono Trigger is the first stop, revealing the definition and history of magic in the purest sense.

What is magic?

The most basic definition of magic is provided by Spekkio, upon the group's first visit to the lofty End of Time. After giving the party magic, the Master of War quotes that

Quote from: Spekkio
Magic is divided into 4 types:
   Lightning, Fire, Water, & Shadow.

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


It was already apparent that there were four elements, but Spekkio's words have much meaning. These four forces and properties of the universe are fundamental – everything is balanced upon them. As Aristotle once proposed that everything in the universe was based on a combination of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, Spekkio informs the party that the reality of the everything rests on the properties of magic. The ability to control these base elements and manipulate them to have a certain effect is the true concept of magic, regardless of use – whether raising continents to form the Kingdom of Zeal, or torching a Heckran. The system is universal, and the ability is mostly biological. Depending on the nature of the caster, a person has an innate affinity for a certain element. These innate leanings empower the user when casting a spell with the same elemental root as his or her innate. Shadow users can cast all types, as any combination of elements causes the Shadow effect.

One might come to think that items such as the Sun Stone or Lavos himself are inherently 'magical,' and that magic is derived from these objects as a sort of energy. However, this isn't true; while it does stand that the Sun Stone, Lavos, and Rainbow Shell were monumental sources of power and energy, they did not impart magic. Magic is fundamental, and these artifacts were merely an amplifier – in Zeal's case, perhaps granting immortality at the Mammon Machine's full power, and also allowing all the citizens to practice magic.

GrayLensman: Spekkio stated that magic is split up into four separate elements and that all things, not just magic, are made of a balance of those elemental powers. This implies that anything, mass or energy, can be decomposed into elements and thus magic. If anything can be converted in to magic, then there is no need for a special source like Lavos or the Sun Stone. If the conversion is anything like E=mc^2, even a drop of water would carry quite a wallop.

Just as the splitting of an atom can cause cataclysmic destruction, the manipulation of these basic properties of the universe can wreak huge effects. Lightning (originally heaven in Japanese), Fire, Water, and Shadow are inherent in everything. Spekkio later reveals that the energy of innate spellcasters who do not have to depend on artifcats for power comes from within, and is rooted in inner fortitude.

Quote from: Spekkio
Magic needs power of the heart. It needs inner strength.


More questions have been raised, though; at mention of Zeal, it might be recalled that magic largely died with it when it fell into the sea. What exactly determines who is able to use magic, and who cannot? Why can a normal, Zealian citizen employ sorcery, yet Ayla, whose fighting spirit is magnanimous and bold, is prohibited? This inquiry is intertwined with the history of magic upon the planet, and reveals its introduction to the human species.

A History of Magic

ZeaLitY

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Magic and the Elements of the Chrono Series
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2005, 07:32:58 pm »
Only thing we need now are individual tech descriptions for Cross characters and both Trigger and Cross monsters.

SilentMartyr

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Magic and the Elements of the Chrono Series
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2005, 09:19:24 pm »
I am like 1/8th through the monsters. I'll put them up when I am completly finished. I am talking about Trigger of course.

ZeaLitY

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Magic and the Elements of the Chrono Series
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2005, 10:14:02 pm »
Yeah, you can actually put that off as long as you like. I'm compiling the monster encyclopedia right now, and after that I'll have all their attacks in a list. That'll make finding and identifying them a hecfk of a lot easier.

SilentMartyr

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Magic and the Elements of the Chrono Series
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2005, 02:49:52 pm »
I'll be sure to incorporate as much laziness as I can into the completion :)