Combat based magic system???

Discussion in 'World Building' started by WeilderOfTheMonkeyBlade, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. Thinking about a relatively simple magic system for my novel that is mainly combat based and that's is not overly complicated, and wondered what other people think about it. It is elemental, and is used by the wilder through their arms. They have strange "tattoos" that give them this power- tattoos are received after going through a nasty, strange ritual. the "tattoos" come in different forms that represent different things, E.g Fire, Air, Light. You can get several marks, and the more you get, the stronger you are, E.g a person with one fire marking can cast fire balls for a few minutes, but some one with Fire, Wind and a couple of others will be able to create a massive firestorm.
    This is the bare bones of the system, and I would appreciate any ideas and criticism.
    p.s it isn't playing a massive part in the world, but is quite important and it isn't, I feel overpowered as their opponents will be wielding flintlock muskets and have cataphracts, horse archers and armoured elephants and rhinos.
  2. Mason

    Mason Scribe

    Just some questions to think about:

    Can only certain people give tattoos that enable magic? What if someone makes a mistake will the spells come out all wonky? Is a special kind of ink needed? If your going elemental with the magic, consider tying the ritual of the inking into the environment, i.e A fire marking can only be given inside of a volcano, a Dark (assuming you have Dark because you mentioned Light) marking might given in an eerie swamp. Good Luck!
  3. Sorry, I did forget to mention that the Tattoos are not inked, you get them randomly during the ritual ( but I haven't figured that bit out yet...........)
    though if you do use the magic to much, say for several minutes straight, your arms do begin to burn and set on fire, and you can die from overuse of it that way, which isn't nice.
  4. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

    The idea sounds intriguing and I would roll with it.

    As much as it sounds like you want to keep it bare-bones, keep in mind that fantasy/sci-fi readers like to pick this stuff apart. With that in mind, I'm not sure that random selection would be accepted. In cases where the magic can't be learned, traditional selection is usually tied to the user's personality, or "tribe". Maybe it seems random to the people, but you drop a few hints to the reader that the ability is really almost predetermined?
  5. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Also keeping in mind that readers like to pick this stuff apart, you might want to come up with another word besides "tattoo." Saying tattoo automatically infers skin art with inks. You might want to call them, instead, "glyphs," or something along those lines.
  6. Storm Kesocascay

    Storm Kesocascay Minstrel

    I like the system you're going with, but there are still some things to add on.

    I think that only masters in the magics can teach the magic and upon "graduating", the markings are carved into your body by the master during the ritual that "Awakens" your powers so you can perform the magic on your own and unlocks more magical options. For example, if one is studying fire magic, they could summon heat waves or embers as a student, but upon graduating, hey could summon firestorms and such and they have the ability to learn other spells.

    I also think that the markings could be called "Runes" since they tie into the source of the magical energies and also are not "pure" magic and could basically play as background. You could carve them into the characters' bodies making them permanent, our you could copy from Mortal Instruments and make them Henna drawings on the skin that can be erased and changed if needed.

    It all depends. It's a good start, though.
  7. Cheers for all the advice and new ideas. This really is opening some new ideas for me, and I feel that it will allow me to craft a deeper, more satisfying magic system that will allow readers to think, when people are getting engulfed by lightning or whatever, "Wow, that lightning is really realistic," and then the readers run into the streets and start trying to lightningise people.........
  8. I remember a novel that was actually very very similar, actually it was a trilogy.
    They were called The magicians guild, The Novice And the High Lord. Written by trudy Canavan. It was a few years ago i read them, but i remember they were Pretty decent.
  9. Aosto

    Aosto Sage

    I like the idea of it, it sounds kind of similar to far cry 3 and the tattaeo(not sure on the spelling)
    When the mc would gain a skill, a tattoo would appear. There wasn't any magic in that game though.
    Or the Night Angel trilogy and the Vir.
    I would write up a good explanation for it. But the idea seems nice.
  10. Now I think about it, it is quite Far Cry 3ish . I haven't read the night angel trilogy, so I wouldn't now. ( I have got the third one, saw it for 50p ,so I bought it, just need to get the second and first. :) )
  11. Bpeter

    Bpeter Acolyte

    Also sounds a bit like the game Dishonored, where the MC is given a tattoo by the Outsider (sort of god) and then can use different kinds of magic.
  12. ahgar

    ahgar Acolyte

    i like it!
  13. King_Cagn

    King_Cagn Scribe

    I like this idea system you've created but what if it backfires and the ritual goes bad?

    Personally I'd have included a system that makes it so that if the ritual goes eerie than the effects harm the user more than the effects. Let's say someone is marked with Fire but than the ritual didn't go well, I'd have the user's flesh burn (than regenerate after use) as they us the element, and the more a user overgives, the most likely they are to self destruct.

    That's just my two cents though.
  14. ChasingSuns

    ChasingSuns Sage

    In order to avoid have anyone being able to just go through the motions and obtain the abilities, you could make it so that only certain people know how to conduct the ritual that bestows the powers. It could be a well-kept secret amongst those who know how to do it.
  15. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    Makes sense.

    Especially, how rare are the materials that make the tattoos' ink? How delicate is the process of mixing and applying it just right, so that performing the ritual takes a rare level of skill? (Worse, to even learn that precision, how many "failed experiments" do you have to go through, and what's the cost to your test subjects?) Tattoos could easily be made a very rare and exotic power indeed.
  16. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

    For any type of special abilities, whether you call it magic, super powers or something else, it is important to know which characters can obtain the powers, how they get them, can the powers be taken away, what are the limitations of the magic/powers and what can other characters do to defeat the people with these abilities.
    Know what you want your characters to be able to do and their goals. Consider the obstacles you want them to face. The more powerful you make the magic/powers the more important the ways to counter them. It is all about being able to defeat people with powers. Whether they are being used for good or evil, otherwise the person with them always wins, which means a boring story.
    I would suggest you determine ahead of time what a person is capable of doing if they have 1, 2, or 3 tattoos of one type of element. Then work out the abilities that are possible for each combination. Some combinations can be different and some may only increase the strength of a power or length of time it can be used. If you have a system in place then whatever situation you place your characters in it becomes easier to determine what they could do.

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