Dragon Doctors Discussion

"Recursive Auto-Casting"
mcantrell at 1:00PM, Aug. 11, 2011
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Cause the discussion was getting a little too big for the comments section.

To recap (feel free to correct):

* Priscilla was attempting to recruit Sarin for some unknown cause. We do not know the details of this cause, as Sarin interrupted her before she explained. (Chapter 9, Pages 20-22)

* At this time, Sarin gave her a minor curse – whenever she uses magic, she compulsively casts Equipment Failure upon herself, leaving her naked. (C9P23)

** We find out afterwards that this will only last a week. Preiscilla does not know this. (C9P24)

* An unknown amount of time later, Sarin steps into a local Wood-Warping (Carpentry / Artistry using magic) studio on an errand, and discovers Priscilla works at/owns the studio. (C14P7)

** According to the TVTropes page, it is 627 4B at the end of C13. It is unknown what time C9 took place in, although some math suggests it was ~2 years before the events of C14.

** Ch10 takes place immediatley after C9. C11 is hard to place. C12 takes place on or around Mori's 170th birthday. Mori turns 13 on 468 4B (it is the cover image of C12), and is 170 as of C12. This suggests C12 takes place on 468 + 170 - 13 = 625 B4.

* Priscilla asks Sarin to undo the effects of the curse at this time. Sarin is, understandably, surprised. (C14P7)

** Priscilla points out that her day job requires she use magic constantly, leaving her with a reputation of being a “crazy artist lady who only does her work in the nude”. This implies a high frequency and duration – she's done it often enough that she no longer considers it an impediment to doing her job, she has gained a reputation for doing so, and has overcome this reputation.

** If the above math about Mori's birthday is correct (it's probably not), this suggests that she has been living with the curse for over two years.

** The “cause”, whatever it was, broke up as a result of Priscilla's curse.

* Sarin reverts the curse directly, asking Priscilla to test it via her woodworking powers. Priscilla does so, but the curse activates anyway. (C14P8)

** Three important things occur at the same time – Priscilla's hair decorations are destroyed, as are her glasses and the piece of wood she was interacting with. This means that it is the full Equipment Failure spell, and not a “weakened” version.

** A possible plot hole / fridge logic moment – if she destroys wood she is working with, then she would never be able to do her job, as she would instantly destroy any wood she tries to work on. A more likely scenario is that the wood shaping spell lasts for a length of time, allowing her to cast the spell allowing her to work, and then work for a period of time before having to recast it.

* Sarin examines Priscilla's aura, noting she has several magical effects ongoing - healing magic, mostly. This makes sense given that Priscilla works at a place where she would get all kinds of splinters regularly. She tests a theory with a “turn your eyes blue for a few minutes” spell, which overloads and turns Priscilla's entire body into varying shades of blue. (C14P9)

* Sarin explains that Priscillla has “Recursive Auto-casting”, a rare condition that causes mages to reflexively recast any spells they are affected with. Temporary spells are extended much longer. (C14P10)

** A more advanced case of the disorder causes spells to “overlap and amplify.” This is why her “blue eyes” spell became “blue body.” This is a fatal condition, as harmless utility magic will be dangerously amplified – a warmth spell will turn into a fireball spell, for example. In addition, the human body isn't meant to constantly cast spells, meaning she will die of mana flow complications if left untreated.

** Sarin specifically dodges the question of if Priscilla will remain blue forever. Dodging the question implies some truth. This also implies that the curse will be similarly untreatable.
So that's where we're at. Theorycrafting, anyone? :)

(Edit: apparently list items don't actually work.)
last edited on Aug. 11, 2011 4:33PM
mcantrell at 7:56PM, Aug. 11, 2011
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So some observations and theories and stuff:

* The other doctors are experimenting with using Phoenix Shell to remove curses.  Well, experimenting may be the wrong word…  ;)  It seems like an intersting thing to bring up right before reintroducing someone with a dangerous curse.  Although a piece of shell is probably too valuable to waste on a simple curse like that.

* Sarin specifically dodges the question about the permanence of Priscilla's blue color when asked.  This suggests that the changes are permanent – or at the very least, she doesn't know well enough to be confident saying one way or another.  This further suggests that the Equipment Failure curse is/may be permanent as well.

* A “minor healing of scrapes and brusies” spell was mentioned offhand.  While this makes sense – if you were working with wood all day long you'd want something that can get rid of splinters and scrapes – This also suggests foreshadowing.  Combine this spell with the concept that the other spells are “amplifying and overlapping” may suggest a possible link is upcoming (she stubs her toe, her shoe explodes, etc etc).

* The math above with the birthdays and whatnot is probably not quite right.  It's as close as I can get without doing another archive dive (which I will later), but I'm not sure if many dates are mentioned in the comic proper.  If is is correct or even close, that means she's been enduring this curse for around / over 2 years.  And since her job requires she use magic all day…

The bigger implications is that she's been casting that same spell on herself, over and over again, at least once per workday (more likely than not much more often than that), for a very, very long time.  Even without the complication of her condition, that has to have some repercussions, right?

Fridge Logic Moments: 

* Her job requires she use magic all day long.  Given that she shatters the wood she's working with when giving her latest demonstration, this would imply that she can't actually do her job – every time she'd try, she'd destroy the wood she was working on.  A way around this would be if the wood-shaping spell was ongoing – meaning she shreds her clothing at the start of the day and then can continue working despite that.

* Her customers have gotten used to her condition.  This implies that it's been going on a long while.  The above math with the birthdays suggests that she's been living with this curse for over 2 years – long enough that she's taken to working despite it, her customers have gotten over it AND she's gained a reputation for it.  (It's probably good publicity, all things considered.)

* If the blue eyes spell turned into blue body, why haven't the other spells (Equipment Failure on casting / minor healing) been similarly extended?
* If Equipment Failure destroys “anything not alive”, would that apply to, say, food?  If it does get stuck on, how would she… eat?

Personally, I'm of the opinion that if this was a 1980s comedy B-movie, we'd see the Equipment Failure expand at the worst possible time – while they are trying to drive her to the clinic for treatment, thus leaving her and Sarin to make a mad streak across town, all the while Priscilla's constantly blowing up random inorganic objects around her (namely, anything they try to hide behind).  But I'm a huge fan of B-movies, so… ;)  (Actually, I have to wonder what kind of B-movies a world like this would have… heh)

The scary thing is just how far reaching a curse like this would be.  I get the impression the civilization in the Doctorverse uses magic for everything – it's just easier than using technology.  To compare Priscilla's situation to our reality, imagine if every time you wanted to use something electronic, or went near electric power, your clothes blew up.
A good prank for a week, a rather horrific situation for 2+ years.
last edited on Aug. 11, 2011 9:07PM
Speedball at 10:01AM, Aug. 12, 2011
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Creator weighing in here: Priscilla is able to use her wood-warping magic without actually touching the wood, otherwise the equipment failure spell would kick in and destroy her works all the time.
Also: They don't use magic for everything. They have cars and electricity, for example. Over-reliance on any one power source is a no-no after at least one magical apocalypse.
last edited on Aug. 12, 2011 10:05AM
mcantrell at 3:08PM, Aug. 12, 2011
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Yeah, kinda figured something like that was going on with the wood warping magic.  It still probably limits what she can do with the magic quite a bit, though, not being able to directly touch the wood to work with it.

A mix of tech and magic makes sense.  I imagine it's still quite a bit of a drawback – the comparison slips down to electronics in our world instead of electricity.  Probably the more convienent of ways to do things would fire off her curse, meaning she's stuck with a delemma – get used to doing things the old/slow/hard way, or get used to being nude while she does things the new/quick/easy way.

How close is the time frame mentioned above?  Do you have the various dates the events penceled down in the back of your sketchbook or somesuch?
Did I guess any of the foreshadowy bits? ;)
last edited on Aug. 12, 2011 3:12PM
mcantrell at 7:16PM, Jan. 25, 2012
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So my current random theory is that sometime in the near future, Priscilla is going to come back to the Dragon Doctors and ask one of the doctors to adopt her younger self.
Personally, I welcome our new young blue tattooed nurse overlords!
last edited on Jan. 25, 2012 7:19PM

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