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Did the mana cycle predate the 2nd age?

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Beta

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« on: (17:42:07/01-28-19) »
In ShadowRun there is a bit of knowledge of the 4th age (out-of-game: the age which had EarthDawn at its end).  Perhaps some dragons have knowledge of the 2nd age, the previous high-mana cycle, which was presumably quite some thousands of years earlier, far before humans were keeping much in the way of records.

But if this is a continuous cycle, shouldn't there have been a huge number of cycles before that?  The earth has been around for billions of years.  If it somehow depends on sentient beings, there have been on the order of two hundred thousand years of fairly modern humans, which should have been enough for many mana cycles (and associated visits from -horrors- terrors).

Is there information on this anywhere?
Jawsey  --
speechthought

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« Reply #1 on: (17:58:35/01-28-19) »
In ShadowRun there is a bit of knowledge of the 4th age (out-of-game: the age which had EarthDawn at its end).  Perhaps some dragons have knowledge of the 2nd age, the previous high-mana cycle, which was presumably quite some thousands of years earlier, far before humans were keeping much in the way of records.

But if this is a continuous cycle, shouldn't there have been a huge number of cycles before that?  The earth has been around for billions of years.  If it somehow depends on sentient beings, there have been on the order of two hundred thousand years of fairly modern humans, which should have been enough for many mana cycles (and associated visits from -horrors- terrors).

Is there information on this anywhere?

Whatever information exists is likely no longer binding, since Earthdawn and Shadowrun IPs are now completely split with no ongoing relationship.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Reaver

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« Reply #2 on: (18:00:02/01-28-19) »
Not to my knowledge.

You're not wrong in thinking about the cycles of magic, as they seem to wax and wan on a 5000+ year cycle. So think about that number for a minute.

That means the 5th age began somewhere around 3000 BC!

And the 4th Age started roughly 8000BC!

The 3rd Age... 13,000 BC!

And finally the 2nd Age roughly 18,000 BC.

That's a LONG time ago! So long in fact, that it is roughly 15,000 years past the oldest known writings; The Sumerian archaic (3400 BC est). In fact, that puts the Sumerian archaic in the closing eras of the 4th and the early 5th ages.... which basically means the events of those ages pre-date any surviving known records.

Now, Maybe there is some knowledge bout the second age passed down in the Dragons' collective memory or history, but they aren't talking. (I'm not even sure if Dragons have a written language..) And even dragons and elves can be killed...

Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

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« Reply #3 on: (18:10:20/01-28-19) »
SSDR: I'm not worried about 'current canon' and entirely welcome hints, lore, and speculation-with-a-bit-of-supporting-evidence.

Reaver: And cave paintings of animals go back ~40 000 years (found in Indonesia) and very strong evidence that European ones date to over 30 000 years ago (but interestingly for this topic, there is then some thousands of years with no new rock paintings that we have found .... ).  Now, one potential argument against many cycles of terrors is if they can only feed on the emotions of beings that are a) sentient and b) hold the seeds of magic use in their species.  Perhaps earlier humans had not yet picked up the potential for magic (although how to balance that with abundant types of paracritters, I don't know)
Jawsey  --
speechthought

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« Reply #4 on: (18:41:39/01-28-19) »
There's also the very profound impact of real life anthropological theories about human prehistory being potentially completely wrong in the in-universe Shadowrun "reality."
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

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« Reply #5 on: (19:06:19/01-28-19) »
SSDR: Fair point.

Still curious if anyone has any speculation on the topic.
Jawsey  --
speechthought

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« Reply #6 on: (19:15:06/01-28-19) »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Grizzly

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« Reply #7 on: (20:32:36/01-28-19) »
Pure speculation/my own head-cannon - especially since I believe the supposed "evidence" on Mars was ultimately proven to be fake in game:

Dragons, while magical in nature, actually evolved on Mars with its much lower gravity enabling larger flying beasts.  When they became sentient they eventually gained full control over their magical abilities and, being magical super-predators, dominated the planet and eventually worked out a civilization not too dissimilar to what is known of them today.

Being the dominant species with huge magical potential and an equivalent ego, of course they would eventually poke behind one curtain too far...  While this did lead them to discover the meta-planes, it also ended up drawing the attention of the Horrors.  Powerful as they are individually, they have always been few in numbers and even if it took most of the mana cycle the Dragons were eventually almost completely overwhelmed.

In the end, a few managed to open a pair of dimensional gates that allowed them to physically travel to their sister planet (Earth).  The creation of this bridge, or perhaps as part of a dooms-day type operation hoping to sever the magical link the Horrors had to our solar system (or both), caused the complete destruction and eradication of the Martian bio-sphere thus rendering it a magically inert rock.

Thus, the 1st Age of magical ebb is actually the 1st Great Sleep of the Dragons after fleeing their homeworld.  Before that was only the 'Golden Age' of life on Mars.

The 2nd Age would be the Horrors attempting to reconnect to the Dragons and the new world - perhaps they managed a scouting party but were largely driven off because they could not find the Dragons before the mana began to ebb again.  This is why the Dragons of the 4th Age encouraged/aided metahumanity to build the ... forget the name for them, the arks where they hid until the horrors went away... Cairns?  They also (from what little I know of ED) helped to raise and rally armies of mages and adepts in order to fight the Horrors, again with little to no success, because when it comes to Magic the Horrors are lit AF.

Finally, in our current 6th Age - in the absence of magic metahumanity has embraced technology, which many Dragons seem to view with great interest.  The Big D (and possibly others?) encouraged the development of techno-magical devices, possibly with the hope that a blending of magic and machine might be enough to destroy the Horror's once and for all.

---

Again, all just stuff from my head, but hope it helps your own thoughts :)

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #8 on: (21:37:58/01-28-19) »
I always figured Dragons are awakened dinosaurs.

Sapient, magic-using dinosaurs that were able to survive the K-T extinction.

Hell maybe they CAUSED it!

Or course talking about a timescale encompassing geological eras means this would potentially be a hell of a lot more than the "Sixth" world.

Metahuman hubris to think it all began with mammalian evolution!
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Reaver

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« Reply #9 on: (21:58:15/01-28-19) »
I always figured Dragons are awakened dinosaurs.

Sapient, magic-using dinosaurs that were able to survive the K-T extinction.

Hell maybe they CAUSED it!

Or course talking about a timescale encompassing geological eras means this would potentially be a hell of a lot more than the "Sixth" world.

Metahuman hubris to think it all began with mammalian evolution!


That's an interesting point... Why only 6 cycles of counting?

Was this the first appearance of the Horrors that started the counting of cycles? Is that as far back as the collective memory follows?


I doubt we will get an answer to this any time soon :P
(Some things are best left unanswered :D)
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #10 on: (21:59:40/01-28-19) »
I always figured Dragons are awakened dinosaurs.

Sapient, magic-using dinosaurs that were able to survive the K-T extinction.

Hell maybe they CAUSED it!

Or course talking about a timescale encompassing geological eras means this would potentially be a hell of a lot more than the "Sixth" world.

Metahuman hubris to think it all began with mammalian evolution!


That's an interesting point... Why only 6 cycles of counting?

Was this the first appearance of the Horrors that started the counting of cycles? Is that as far back as the collective memory follows?


I doubt we will get an answer to this any time soon :P
(Some things are best left unanswered :D)

yeah I'm sure it's not canon but I like the idea of the K-T event being smart dinosaurs accidentally unleashing Horrors for the first time.
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

DeathStrobe

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« Reply #11 on: (23:03:31/01-28-19) »
Grizzly, great minds think alike.

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I'm going to be honest. I like the Earthdawn link. Now, I'm happy Horrors aren't going to be a thing for a few thousand years, because they'd really limit the metaplot. But just having them in the background isn't really so bad to me.

Though, something I do wonder, why is the mana cycle up on the evens and down on the odds? Dragons can't be awake in low mana of the odd worlds. Which means the 1st world would have had no dragons, assuming that it was a low mana world.

This is what I think. Dragons came from Mars. Horrors invade Mars, Dragons realize that they can't win, so open up Astral Rifts, travel through the meta planes and end up on Earth. A few Dragons stay behind and do some kind of mass entropy spell that kills all life on Mars. Which destroys Mars mana sphere and kills all the Horrors on Mars.

They may have arrived on Earth during the First world and gone straight to sleep. Which would also explain why the numbers start on the low mana cycle. Though, Earth has had more Mana Cycles before then, but there just weren't dragons. Which is why we call the First World the First World since its the First World with Dragons in it.

The beginning of the First World would have been about 24,000 years ago. Which is a long time ago, but not that long compared to how long Earth has been around. Which is about 4.54 billion years old. So there would have been about 873k cycles of mana since the birth of Earth, give or take. Or possibly, maybe Earth didn't use to go through mana cycles and the Dragons thought it'd be a good idea to start up the mana cycles to make shallow mana times, to give them time to prepare for the Horror's arrival.

But of course, it all hinges on the fact the there is some kind of threat that attacks magically rich societies. Without something like Horrors, we'd have to come up with internal politics or something else. Which can totally still be done and make sense within the world of SR.

neomerlin

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« Reply #12 on: (00:12:15/03-03-19) »
By the accepted approximate maths already outlined in this thread, the first age began 23,000 years BCE. There are no cycles before this because, as the name "1st age" implies, there is no age before it. This was the genesis of all things.

Dinosaurs and any creatures that should have walked the Earth prior to the 1st age never did. They have only ever been a fossil record, pointing to a time that exists only as a history fabricated by powers unknown for reasons unknown.

Turns out Bertrand Russell was right, but his clock was wrong. The entirety of creation, all that exists and ever has existed, sprang into being fully formed approximately 23,000 BCE, including the evidence of a time prior. In all liklihood, those first homo sapiens (most of which were probably full grown adults at the time of creation) also had memories of the days and years before they actually existed, but those memories, like the cosmic microwave background, like the fossil record, are false evidence.

Ajax

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« Reply #13 on: (00:47:03/03-03-19) »
I've always thought that the mana cycles were, more or less, the same thing as the yuga of Hinduism or the long count of the Mayan calendar. In both of those systems, as well as in the Norse Ragnarok myth and Christian eschatology, the "end" of the world is just the start of a new one. So there could have been something before the First Age, it just would have been the "Last Age" of whatever came before it.

The Hindu's yuga system is especially interesting when compared to Shadowrun's mythos. I'm not an expert on Hindu theology and religion, so my apologies if I'm getting any of this grossly wrong... But it's my understanding that the Hindu's see the universe existing in a four-part cycle: the Satya Yuga comes first and it is basically utopia; the Treta Yuga comes next and is imperfect, but still pretty nice; then in the Dvapara Yuga the taint spreads and life is full of hardship and discontent; and finally, we get to the Kali Yuga, the age of age of darkness and ignorance, pain and turmoil, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria! At the end of the Kali Yuga, the universe is basically torn down and a new cycle begins with a new Satya Yuga.

Well, from what I have read, the Kali Yuga is said to have started in 3102 BCE... and various Shadowrun books have said that the Fifth World began when Atlantis sank into the ocean in 3113 BCE. That's pretty dang close.
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Reaver

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« Reply #14 on: (02:49:53/03-03-19) »
RE: Ajax,

The entire "Age" system of SR is based of the long count Mayan calendar. (This is confirmed canon. As is the error that was made in the date of 2011 instead of the correct 2012)
Where am I going? And why am I in a hand basket ???

Remember: You can't fix Stupid. But you can beat on it with a 2x4 until it smartens up! Or dies.