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Describe your magic system

Discussion in 'World Building' started by thedarknessrising, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. I didn't see a post like this, so please forgive me if there is one.

    How does magic work in your story? Is it common? Could it be learned easily? Who uses it?

    In my world, magic is used by a select group of people. At the beginning of time, the gods created a race of beings that would be their representatives in the world. They called this race "elendar". The elendar devout themselves to a single god, and they draw power from them. The elendar is only as strong as their patron god. If the god were to be killed (which is possible, but extremely difficult), the elendar would lose his power and become mortal.

    As time went on, the elendar grew rash and arrogant, believing themselves to be equal to the gods. They built a magnificent city, which they called Vell Khaless A Seraless. They stopped worshipping the gods, and the gods grew angry. They sent a massive red dragon to destroy the city and teach the eldar a lesson. The city burned in a night.

    Realizing the error in their ways, the elendar repented, and begged forgiveness. The gods relented, and created three races for the elendar to watch over and rule: humans, dwarves, and elves. They bestowed among a few of these races a magical ability, to give them equal footing with the elendar.

    Magic cannot be taught, but it can be acquired through contact with a magical emblem, rune, or piece of equipement, like an enchanted sword or bewitched tomes. Magical ability is limitless. Elendar and wizards (those given powers instead of being "born" with them) can create fantastic spells of their own design. The elendar and wizards act as a guiding force in the land, interferring only in matters that affect all that live within it.
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  2. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

    In my world magic and the Occult are synonymous, and anyone can access its power if they want, but society is so fearful of its practitioners that it's international law that anyone discovered to be practicing 'the eldritch arts' can be executed without trial.

    Occult energy exists in the air of the world, but not very much. So in order to use magic an occultist must first capture a large amount of concentrated Occult energy and store it in a 'vessel'. A vessel can be anything so long as it has an opened and closed state (most often occultists use pocket watches or lockets). So long as a vessel is close to them, an occultist can draw their power from it to work their magic. Vessels hence have to be refilled every so often with a simple ritual.

    Ideally they would be able to store Occult energy in their body, but this isn't possible for humans to do. This is because in Occult philosophy there are three aspects of the being, and each of them have their own relationship with the Occult: the blood, the spirit and the mind.

    The Blood = biological structure. Human blood is a very good catalyst/vessel of Occult energy, used in vessel-refilling rituals.
    The Spirit = the inner being and shit. The human spirit is not adequate to connect with the Occult. Because of this, Occult energy cannot be stored in blood while it is within the human body, as the spirit repels it.
    The mind = the mind (duh). The human mind is very able to connect with the Occult. This means that humans are able to manipulate the Occult to work spells, but also means they are vulnerable to it.

    The general upshot is that humans are good at using the Occult, but their spirit won't allow them to store energy inside their body even though their blood is perfect for it, so they store Occult energy in an external vessel instead.

    As to what they can do with magic, mostly it's influencing the minds of others. But also they can summon spectres and a few exceedingly powerful occultists have figured out how to conjure tentacles of Occult energy which are incredibly strong.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    How does magic work in your story?
    I based it off of wuxia martial arts. It's a mental/spiritual thing but it's also a physical thing. In short, it involves imposing your will onto reality, breaking the rules of nature/logic/whatever.

    Is it common?
    Not really but it's not exactly uncommon.

    Could it be learned easily?
    Easily, no. It takes a life-long commitment just to learn a few "spells".

    Who uses it?
    The gods were, as far as anyone can tell, were the original users. But they weren't very good. Also, they're gone.
    There are a few schools of magical arts but they also aren't very good at using magic.
    Currently, there are 10 "master" magic users. Nine of them can't really do much but the tenth has total mastery like some kind of super-wizard. He can literally do anything.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  4. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

    Any feedback is very welcome! I'm kind of unsure of my system and definitely could use input.

    How does magic work in your story?

    That's a great question! I don't really know. Nor does anyone in-universe. There is no unifying theme. Different cultures and geographies have their own brand of magic-- in one ancient city, the waters are all tainted black and can fully sustain a human, causing this city to be gargantuan by the standards of the world. In another country, some people are born who are completely immune to fire-- they form the core of the country's army (which is quite found of greek fire)

    Is it common? Not much at all. Very rarely is it the kind of WMD's you find in say, Eragon. It does vary in prevalence from country to country, so some cultures basically every shaman is a "caster" in a sense. Other forms of magic, however, can
    manifest themselves in impossibly small numbers.

    Could it be learned easily? Again, varies. Some of the skills- reading auguries in blood, creating wickerman, etc. can be learned, albeit with great difficulty. Others, however, are purely by birth (with subsequent training)

    Who uses it? Depends on what the magic is useful for, the cost of the magic, etc.

    I'm going for a system that is very diverse without any great "and this is how it all connects and why this particular form of magic is superior". There's a thin line between what works as magic and what is just superstition. Thoughts?
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  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I have a pseudo-scientific magical system, with stuff like phlogiston and aether. But it takes many centuries before people are able to detect these forces and to formulate theories to explain them.

    Before that time, there were many theories about what magic is and why it works. Like most theories, each got some things right and some things wrong. The theories ranged from the notion that magic was a function of the individual--what I call "heroic magic"--to arcane systems such as alchemy or astrology. Or religion.

    I'm still working out details, but this approach has proved both flexible and interesting as I write individual stories. I think what sets my system apart is that it has a history. It changes over time.
  6. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Way back when - as in decades ago, my stories employed a magic system which was so much an AD&D clone you could hear the dice rolling in some of my stories.

    That bothered me. A lot.

    So, I investigated the magic system in 'Warhammer Fantasy Role Play.' An improvement, but still too...gamey.

    Then I sat down, dug out a pile of quasi occult books, did a bunch of reading and a bunch of thinking.

    I noticed that in the more...rational...investigations of people with psi abilities, the same talents or abilities cropped up over and over again - telekinesis, levitation, ESP, clairvoyance and its modern analog remote viewing. Lots of future divination type stuff. A few cases of teleportation and pyrokinesis. Some cases of healing. Not saying all or most of these claimed abilities were 'real,' but they did keep turning up (and I read...hundreds? thousands? of cases of varying quality). So, I decided these abilities would be the ones used by the wizards of my world. I did include spell levels of a sort, but that's kind of fluid.

    At the same time, I read up on how those in the ancient world perceived magic. Love charms. Curses. Shape shifting. Healing. And the biggie...binding spirits by knowing their 'true name.' Get control of a 'spirit' and you could order it to do real powerful magic for you - magic far beyond the ability of a mortal sorcerer. Reams of ancient magical texts dedicated to this. Even makes appearances in the bible. Thought about that for a while.

    I'm also a long time reader of Lovecraft and related authors. Many of Lovecraft's nastier creatures are...'aliens'...summoned from another dimension. Noticed the parallels between this and the whole 'binding a spirit' / 'true name' thing. That got added to the system...at least for the bad guy wizards. Said conjured creatures (well some of them) are far, far more psi proficient than any human could ever hope to be. And many of them regard humans (and like races) as bugs that need to be exterminated. So dealings with them usually starts out 'bad' and then devolves to downright 'catastrophic.' The very few relatively decent entities don't really do much to counter this.

    But how to explain an abundance of people with turbo-charged psi abilities? For that matter, how to explain why they were on the world? Enter the 'ancient aliens,' beings who long ago transformed a dead planet into a living one, then populated it with lifeforms brought in from worlds they'd visited including many from earth. The aliens technology was partly based on psi - they were innate psi users. They decided some humans (and others) would make for fine assistants in their many projects, and used their super alien tech to imbue select humans and their descendants with psi ability. Then they screwed up big time, and were mostly eradicated or exiled.

    So, to the things already established, I added a few more - runes and arcane rites, which are actually broken mangled pieces of the ancient aliens old tech and procedures. Lets psi types imbue objects with power - talismans, magic swords, that sort of thing. Because this lore was mangled pretty badly through the ages, a lot of it doesn't do much of anything. Most wizards stick with just a few that are sort of reliable.

    Last, because it was cool, I tacked in illusions.
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  7. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    I've done a lot of different systems, but I'm fond of the "chronowarp" in my (perpetually almost-finished) computer game Gracie. One of the characters can optionally be asked questions about its mechanics, which I'll stitch together here:

    Notice some giant holes there? Everything they know about magic is based on how two species use it, and they don't interact with it in quite the same way. The rules they've codified are perfectly accurate for them, but when they encounter and battle other magic-using species, they're caught off guard by things they can't do themselves and don't know how to prepare for. It's consistent, but it's not consistent with everything they thought they knew.
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  8. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    I just recently started working on the story idea involving this magic system so there's a good chance that it'll change but here's what I have so far;

    There are various different types of magic and what ones you have access to has some influence on your social standing.

    Regular People without any magic are at the lowest level socially. They're limited to only the most basic of the basic of government jobs; faceless infantry in the army, low level bureaucrats, stuff like that. However, there's various magical items or ways to get magic so it's not likely they're completely stuck in this position. Most of them are just honest, hardworking people just trying to live their lives and they're content with that even if they don't have magic. The most powerful of the regular people would have to be wealthy merchants who, despite their lack of magic, have an impressive amount of influence due to their wealth.

    Craft Mages are the next level up and represent sort of the middle class. Anyone can become a Craft Mage. With enough dedication and / or enough experience just about any area of human endeavor can be merged with magic. There's craft mage blacksmiths, craft mage healers, craft mage soldiers, and so on. In a village the town council is normally made up of Craft Mages. Depending on their power as a craft mage they can do various things involving their craft. The simplest things are just little things that make it easier to do mundane things with their craft, such as a Craft Mage Blacksmith's magic allowing them to light their forge with ease, but more advanced Craft Mages can produce magical results with their Craft such as a Blacksmith forging a magical sword. While it is -technically- possible to become a Craft Mage in multiple crafts it is extremely rare. A legendary master Craft Mage Blacksmith might develop as a Craft Mage Swordsman as a result of obsessively testing out their own blades in their pursuit of creating the perfect blade.

    Noble Mages are those born with a talent for magic, and since it's much more likely to be a noble mage if your parents were one it's used to split the nobility from the common folk. Noble mages can learn to be able to do what craft mages can do and without anywhere near as much trouble as a Craft Mage has to go through, though due to the fact that they specialize Craft Mages tend to be better at their own craft than a Noble Mage. What really sets Noble Mages apart from Craft Mages though is their access to Elemental Magic. Each one has an affinity for a particular element. There's fire, wind, water and so on of course, but it's more common for your initial affinity to be something like smoke, sand, lightning or so on instead of one of those "pure" elements. Your bloodline has a large influence on what affinity you get as well and the pure elements are associated with the oldest and highest ranked noble families. You'll always find that magic associated with your affinity is easiest to learn and takes notably less energy to cast than off affinity magic. There's also a similar though lesser benefit to elements closely associated with your affinity such as with a fire mage using smoke magic, however a fire mage learning smoke magic would have an easier time than a smoke mage learning fire magic since they're going from a pure element to a less pure one. It is possible to change your affinity or gain a second affinity in addition to your own, but it takes a level of dedication and effort comparable to a regular person becoming a craft mage. Finally, even among the pure elements there's two that stand above the others; Light and Darkness.

    Abstract Magic is a subsection within the Noble Magic. Instead of dealing with a physical element such as fire it's "element" is more of an abstract thing such as time, space, order, or chaos. It is possible, but extremely rare for a Noble Mage's initial affinity to be for one of these instead of a regular element, however if you're an Abstract Mage learning Elemental Magic or an Elemental Mage learning Abstract Magic it's even more difficult than trying to learn the elemental opposite to your affinity, and so the use of Abstract Magic is usually associated with people experienced enough to be called an Archmage. The exception to this is Light or Darkness magic since those two elements are considered to overlap with Abstract Magic. As a result, learning Light or Darkness magic is often considered a gateway to learning Abstract Magic.

    Spirit Magic Technically it'd be more precise to call it Wild Magic, however it's most commonly associated with Spirits, Spirit Magic stands outside of the established order. Things like curses, having the blood of a spirit somewhere in your family, summoning demons and so on. Since this type of magic stands outside the established hierarchy people heavily associated with it aren't often trusted.
  9. Guy

    Guy Inkling

    In my stories, magic is a natural force woven throughout the cosmos. Think of it as strings of energy. But it isn't evenly distributed. Some places have no strings. Some have strings that are too weak to be of any use. Others have strings so powerful they'd instantly fry anyone trying to access them. Other strings are just right. A sorcerer must be able the access the strings and attune himself to them. Highly skilled sorcerers can get the strings to attune to them. Not just anyone can use magic. They need a certain physiology, though I never bothered specifying exactly what that difference is. If a sorcerer doesn't want to rely on finding a proper string of magic, he must carry a repository with him -s staff, pendant, ring, amulet, etc.
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  10. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    The ability to wield magic is relatively rare within my world. Perhaps one percent or less of people are born with the ability to use magic, and fewer can use it a lot over a short period of time.

    Magic is tied to the Outerworld, a realm of existence beyond the physical world, and it's separated from the physical world by a sort of metaphysical wall. It's the home of spirits, and predates the physical world. Mages are born with an innate connection to the Outerworld, which lets them channel energy back and forth between the two realms of existence. So a mage can bring forth thermal energy and start a fire, or send energy to the Outerworld and rapidly cool something.

    Those two examples would belong to the elemental school. Growth magic involves things like healing (which is a difficult and time consuming process), rapidly causing plants to grow (which usually kills the plant), or reinvigorating someone who is exhausted by moving energy from the Outerworld to the physical world. Reductive magic counters these efforts by sapping away energy and sending it back to the Outerworld. Force magic can alter gravity within a certain area, increasing it or decreasing it. Spirit magic or sorcery involves summoning, and sometimes binding, spirits and having them aid you. This produces much more powerful spells, but if the spirit breaks free, one runs the risk of possession. This school of magic is permitted, but heavily regulated, and binding spirits is prohibited.

    The last school of magic is blood magic, which is prohibited in most of the countries in my setting. Blood serves as a conduit for magic, so using blood (in direct contact with the mage's skin) makes much more powerful spells. Blood magic can also control minds, and cause blood vessels to burst or organs to fail. This makes it quite dangerous, so pretty much every country that isn't a magocracy has outlawed blood magic.

    Spirits play an important role in magic. Evil ones, typically referred to as demons, will often attempt to possess mage's via their connection to the Outerworld. If a mage is deceived and gives in to a demon, they will become a Terror. Such creatures can cause untold havoc, and are often difficult to kill. Even worse, they steadily increase in power the longer they are active in the world. Spirits may also cross into the physical world through "cracks" in the wall separating the two realms. Their strength will decrease until they acquire a host, so good spirits will attempt to return to the Outerworld, while demons will try to possess the corpses of humans or animals, creating undead. Demons may also try to worm their way into nonmages. If they are successful, a vampire is created. The subtype depends on the power of the demon, with lesser vampires being very human-like, while greater vampires appear animal-like, though they're much more powerful.

    Mages are educated at the Academy of Magic and the Arcane. This education begins when they first show signs of magic, and usually ends about ten years later. After that point, the mage is free to choose their own path in life.

    The Order of the Watchers regulates magic and deals with threatening magic creatures. Members of the Order can temporarily sever a mage's connection to the Outerworld, preventing the casting of spells, though this ability has a limited range. Watchers go through trials that give them slightly increased senses, the previously mentioned spell nullification, and an immunity to blood magic. However, they can't stop the casting of normal spells powered by blood.

    Though magic is accepted by the main religion of my setting, there is still some prejudice against it and it's users, and not all of it is unfounded. A magocracy once ruled most of the continent before its collapse, and human sacrifice and slavery, as a part of blood magic, was a big part of that. Even in the present, there are a number of blood mage, demonic, or vampiric cults lurking in the shadows, along with other magic based dangers like Terrors, vampires, demons in physical form, the undead, werewolves, and a few species of animals that can use instinctive magic.
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  11. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    MY magic system is has several different types.
    The system that I have written most about is ID or Psi ability.
    Elves are the strongest Psi users but the rarest to have it. Because their minds are centered on arcane magic. Their minds are stronger from evolution of magic, but because they focus learning so much of arcane, most elves snuff out the psi ability if they ever had it to start with.
    All Psi people can communicate mentally with each other.Range of the communication depends on the strength of the psi ability and the relationship between the two people. Also if people are talking to an attacker, they will distract them, making it hard to focus on an attack. The character is learning how to control his abilities and someone attacks his soulmate girlfriend, all his friends instantly start mentally talking to him, making it hard to even form a sentence, let alone counter attack the attacker. They were afraid because he was in real fight early in the day, that he would over react. It is a obstruction defense that would not be wise to use if someone was going to attack you, since you open up a path between the minds to communicate.)
    The normal person usually has 1 major ability and one minor ability. The MC's soulmate is a healer (major) and can read minds(minor) but her problem is, her mind reading is just a little deeper then normal mind speak, so she frequently eve drops on peoples thoughts without realizing she is doing it.
    PSi ability can drive people insane if they aren't trained to deal with it. The MC is abused by a psi, to draw out his abilities, so he sees the ability as evil and reminds him of the abuse and pain. After the attack, anytime he is around people he hears a buzzing sound, the closer a person gets the louder,and the more people the louder it gets. So a crowd of people around him would be very uncomfortable.
    Once controlled they can use the buzzing to warn them of people nearby, and are able to ignore the sound if they don't need it. Also, psi can sense when someone else has psi ability, except that one minor ability is that their ability is masked. The MC's parents both never knew they had psi ability but had the mask, which also masked their buzz.
    The psi draws energy from their body to attack or use their abilities that affect things. The MC has a special rebound defense(his major). His mind is able to reflect most of the energy and add his own to the attack. He also attacks in addition, so he over exerts himself and they fear he was damaged in the attack, when he just needed energy. Which is how they figure out the healer is his soulmate, because when he calls to her they share energy which is not common.(Just enough to keep him from passing out.) Also she heard his call at a distance that no one else could have received it.
    The MC's minor is telekinesis, he saves his mother by altering the path of an arrow in flight, not drastically, just enough to fly over her head.
    PSi attacks happen very fast, MC sees a bird flying towards them as the first attack hits, two students against a veteran psi, they both attack many times, and when MC collapses he looks up and sees the bird flying away. Life and death in seconds, and involved a lot of attacks.

    My Second type of magic I have written about is Divine. Magic endowed by the gods. The religious person must be devout and strengthen their mind to control the magic that their God blesses them with. The type of magic is based on the God. Some gods are more focused on healing, others on feeding the masses, and others are more focused on combat.
    The majority of energy for the magic comes from the gods, but the caster must control and focus the power to use it best.
    They use some energy to connect to the godly energy, so if they cast alot of magic. they could have the low energy feeling that I spoke about above.

    Arcane magic is using personal(Psi) energy, energy from nature and energy from the gods to cast their magic. This magic can be used for good, bad, healing, plant growth, elemental magic, and combat.

    Basically all magic types can be used in combat, used to help others,and used to protect themselves.
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  12. Noldona

    Noldona Scribe

    In my world, magic is a natural occurrence. It is explainable by science, and has been studied by The Academy (a world wide organization that studies everything in the world, most of the knowledge they keep for themselves). All living things produce an electromagnetic field naturally. Most are unaware of this field. Those who study can learn to manipulate this field. It is difficult and takes years of study to become good at this. Different traditions and schools exist throughout the world using different techniques including rituals, alchemy (actually a combination of herbalism, chemistry, and ritual working), direct energy manipulation (akin to martial arts energy working).

    There also exists a natural element in the world that can be found in crystalline form. Similar to how quartz vibrates when exposed to electricity, this element will vibrate when exposed to the concentrated electromagnetic field created by a caster. Depending on the exact structure of the crystal, it can generate either a cancellation wave or a propagation wave. The cancellation wave nullifies the magical effect while the propagation wave makes it stronger. This element is found in different concentrations in different parts of the world. There is an island which contains large amounts of this in its crystalline form.

    Different religions see magic in different ways. There is one religion specifically that is completely against magic. The main followers of this religion live on the island which has the large concentration of the element. The island is remote and hard to get to due to trade winds and such. However, if a magic user were to get to the island, they would find themselves unable to cast anything on this island due to the element. The crystalline form looks beautiful and ends up being used as jewelry by the island inhabitants which help protect them against magic. The element also gets into their food causing it to build up in their body and provides them a natural defense against magic. These facts are important if any of the inhabitants were to venture elsewhere in the world.
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  13. I'm actively working with three worlds and three different magic systems. I will briefly describe each:

    Blood Iron World:

    This is by far my most comprehensive magic system. I have laid out rules and regs for every element. To start with there are 5 branches that magical energy manifests itself. They are as follows:

    Metallurgy- This magic system requires pulling latent magical energy from the universe. Light from stars and other forces act as lenses and makes it easier for a metallurgist to pull these energy from the universe and slam them home into a piece of metal. These energies can be used for passive magic purposes: making the metal strong, reactionary to threats, and other things that won't require active magic.

    A sub-branch of this magic, that is also an exception to an above stated rule, is forging and shaping Blood Iron. This metal comes as a side-result of having a certain magical disease. This metal can channel magic energy, but only under certain conditions and one cannot cast a spell through it.


    There are two schools for seal magic. The first is talisman making. This requires etching metal with certain magical energies imbued by the metallurgical process. These etchings act as a lens that will channel raw energy into a manifestation of something, like fire, ice, speed, strength, flight, etc.

    The second is creating barriers. There are several types of barriers and require a certain locus and intent. The locus connects several different lines of though. So if one wants to create a 14 layered seal of protection, which creates an invisible wall, there needs to be 14 different lines of intent connecting to the locus that all deal with protecting. The more general the intent and the less layers the easier to break. The more specific and more lines the harder it is to break.


    There are three branches of magic in this. The first is contacting the dead. To do so one needs to have a relationship with the dead in some way. This is generally found in family lines known to the spirit magic practitioner. This means the practitioner needs to know their family history. One speaking with the dead can make contracts with them for either information or for a short-term use of their skills, which allows a harmonious possession where the spirit guides the actions but the practitioner is in full control of their actions.

    The second branch is summoning demons and otherworldly creatures to do their bidding. This requires a strong sense of self and a strong will power. The practitioner and the demon create an agreement, according to the terms of the master agreement, for the demon to do certain actions and the practitioner pays them in spirit essences.

    The final branch is creating spirit essences. To summon demons or create golems (done by elemental users) requires a combination of essences. These are difficult to create, but can be sold at a premium price.


    There are two types of these users: those that can make the element from nothing and those that can manipulate that which is already there. The former is the stronger elemental mage of the two. They can also combine elements to make other sub-elements. (e.g. fire and air to make lightning, air and water for ice, etc.)


    These people manipulate probability and fold the fabric of reality to fit their whims. They cannot fold reality to create a bolt of lightning or a blast of fire, but if they know there is a flammable gas in the air and things to create a spark they can create a blast of fire. They can create hallucinations, levitate things, make things lighter or heavier, or do something that they want. The more likely the action is to occur the easier it is to cause via magic.

    The Fallen (Working Title) World:

    There are two types of magic I get into. The first is thieving magic. This magic enhances a persons skill to become a thief. Some can predict the future with some degree of likelihood. Others can literally steal a persons soul, powers, and memory. This was granted to them by a deity so that they could steal from demons.

    The second magic manipulates gravity and motion.

    "Legal World" (I haven't come up with a good title for the stories set here

    This world's magic system is based on certain common law principles.

    Tort law describes when a person is disallowed from utilizing their magic and the magical punishments that apply for using their magic improperly.

    Property law describes how a person gets power and how much magic they have.

    Contracts makes all magic promises compulsory upon the promisor and promisee.

    These three areas of magic and law are controlled by a magic supreme court. They decide what the law is and from there the magic is contained or expanded. There are other twists to the magic that I have planned that I won't get into right now since they are important to the stories.

    (note the "legal world" is a barebones skeleton right now)

    That is what have made so far.
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  14. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

    For as much time as I spend on world-building, I don't put nearly as much time into my magic system as it seems a lot of others do. Maybe it's because my magic "system" just grew out of the story and I haven't really put a lot of rules into it.

    In my world, magic is a gift. Very few people have it and it's hard to explain why they have it. Those that do, seem to get different gifts. For example, one person may find that he can read minds while another can conjure flames from their fingertips (maybe you could describe magic in my world like the abilities in Heroes).

    Magic is so rare that many people don't even believe it exists and those that find they may have a gift need to find someone who has honed their own gift to act ask if they can apprentice under them. When this happens, people with a gift often find that a master (for lack of a better word) can help them develop their gift and maybe even learn other abilities.

    Alchemy is more common (though still pretty rare) and often employed by those who have magical gifts. Alchemists can brew potions and imbue items. In both magic and alchemy, spell components are critical (word pronunciation and proper gesturing also count to properly harness magic energy). Components can be interchanged and experimented with. It works a lot like cooking where if you run out of basil, you can try oregano - it wont be exactly the same, but it still might work... or just taste disgusting.

    I'm sure some will disagree, but I like keeping the element of the unknown in it. It's more fun for me to write (and it keeps options open) and I haven't minded stories that do the same. However, I don't expect my work will appeal to a lot people who like to know the rules of how magic works!
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  15. The Construct

    The Construct Minstrel

    I love magic systems. I've got a few of them myself with varying degrees of development.


    Whether they like it or not esoteric phenomena are a part of daily life for the citizens of my world, thaumaturges are the scholars which study these phenomena and use their understanding to reproduce the effects in a desired way. Technically speaking it's not magic, merely the science of a universe that works on different principles. Most commonly the desired effect is achieved by an arcane contraption or alchemical mix. What sets these things apart from conventional mechanisms and chemistry is generally just a key piece of information, a special conduit or ingredient that allows this particular creation to operate on a level outside of what is perceived as normal reality. The most common special ingredient is a soul, which can be extracted from a living being or harvested from the dead. Souls have a natural connection to the Aether, a higher dimensional plane from whence many magical occurrences have their source, and adding one or more to a properly designed machine allows it to interact directly with the Aether and produce seemingly impossible results.

    Alas, thaumaturges are rarely all there mentally. Whether it's the study of the dark sciences which leads to madness, or that only the mad properly understand the mysteries of the cosmos, it is unknown. What is known is that a large number of thaumaturges suffer from some sensory or similar defect, eg. blindness, deafness or muteness. These almost always accompany a correlating new sensation, such as the blind being able to see into the aetheric realm, or the deaf being able to hear the musica universalis. This gives them a unique perspective on the orphic subjects they study. They are geniuses and madmen, making connections that would be unknowable to others and using them to amazing ends.


    Ultimately evokation magic is very similar to the 'divine magic' you'll see in many other works of fantasy. It is at its core the contacting of beings more powerful than the individual in the hopes of acquiring aid. Whether they be spirits, celestials, demons or ancient, dark gods, all these entities are capable of interacting with the universe around them in a way mortal folk simply aren't capable of, and so with their blessing the evoker may borrow, obtain or outright steal the means of the evoked. First contact may be made using meditation, bloody rituals, arcane runes, aforementioned thaumaturgy or even merely seeking out the nearest powerful being that may have manifested in the material world. The most powerful evokers (or invokers) may use specially crafted masks to allow their evoked being to fully inhabit their body, or use those same masks to trap the entity and force it into servitude.

    True Seeing

    A currently homeless magic system, true seeing involves one learning to observe the 'True Nature' of the world around them, allowing them perceive and interact directly with certain aspects and qualities of objects. A flame for instance has the natures of being red, illuminating, hot and probably other stuff. A Seer could remove the nature of heat from the flame, meaning it itself would no longer be hot, and they could then add it to another subject, ergo adding the heat of a flame to it (and probably setting it alight). There are other kinds of natures too, Inner Natures deal with the mind and emotions, and Deep Natures deal with concepts and 'states' such as being locked or unlocked, or being safe or unsafe. At its core is the First Nature, the very essence of the thing. A Seer must be careful as while they are True Seeing their eyes reveal their First Nature and having access to a person's First Nature gives another Seer total control over that person.

    Nameless Meditative Elemental Absorption Magic

    Another homeless magic system, and also nameless. With great effort, preparation and study an individual may at one point in their life enter a special meditative state during which they can absorb a chosen nearby element into their being. By surrounding oneself in fire one may become a fire elemental, by performing the ritual in nature one may become a nature elemental, by doing it in complete darkness one can become a shadow elemental, and so on. In extreme cases, one may even kill oneself during the meditation to become a death elemental. After the meditation the individual is an elemental of that element for life, being wreathed in flame, composed of wood, etc. You can quell the effect by wearing a special mask, at which point you appear as a regular human (wearing a mask of course), removing it re-releasing the element across your person.
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  16. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Trying to keep mine relatively simple

    Death Magic
    Life Magic
    Elemental Magic
    Demonic Magic

    Everything else (usually pertaining to supernatural beings and their powers) falls into some miscellaneous all inclusive category.
  17. Alcowski

    Alcowski Dreamer

    Magic, the eternal struggle for fantasy writers... I'm old school (terms) when it comes to this so bear with me as I try to explain a system that is ever changing. Cause magic evolves.

    I am the master you are the apprentice... let's go.

    What is magic?

    Cmon really? Details pls?
    Sure, ask a more detailed question then, dont ask vague questions if you dont want vague answers!

    Magic. How do I learn it?
    I told you no vague questions... but fine. You either have talent or you study. There are other ways too, most are very... dangerous. They usually involve your soul being taken after you die, an accident or being in the middle of a convergence of powers.

    After I die? Is there an afterlife?
    Yes and no. Depends. Your soul goes through deaths door and is reincarnated or something else. Who knows. The gods do. Serve one and you might find out...

    ... fine what types of magic exist that is availeble for a mortal with no desire to serve a god?
    Finally, a specific question. True magic, real magic. Not borrowed or any temporary tricks. Unlimited potential, you can learn to access... everything.

    Woohoo! So I can learn to summon things?
    Yes... kind of. Do you understand that summoning something is bringing it from another realm to this realm. Realms are way beyond your understanding. Maybe in a couple of centuries you can.

    Then what do I do to start with this journey to become the greatest mage ever lived?
    Learn to access your mana and survive. Magic lengthens your life. Or shortens it... todays lesson is done, go practice the mana excercise i taught you.


    So in that conversation my point was to make the reader think of possibilities of magic. Magic is the most interesting thing in a fantasy story. Dont spoil it, develop it as you are telling your tale. Use it for twists in the plot. But explain something, not too much not too little, explain it as your character learns it is the best way imo to develop the system. Both for you and the reader. Of course you must know the theory behind it all and be the ultimate god in your world that knows everything.

    Thats my philosophy on magic. The knowledge the reader has must be the same knowledge that is available to the rest of the world you've created.

    Lähetetty minun GT-S7710 laitteesta Tapatalkilla
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
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  18. Alcowski

    Alcowski Dreamer

    So much typos as i tested tapatalk on my phone, didnt really check it too carefully cause I was missclicking left and right... fixes incoming.

    Lähetetty minun GT-S7710 laitteesta Tapatalkilla
  19. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    @Alcowski: reminds me of El Goonish Shive. Magic cannot reverse or completely stop the flow of time, and it has never successfully returned true life to the dead. Beyond that, there are no known limits on magic itself, only on what an individual magic-user can do. (Magic is an intelligent being with its own mysterious agenda, so it rewrites the rules whenever things aren't going according to plan.)
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  20. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    At the most simplistic level, magic in my world is a force that surrounds all things, living or unliving. Those "in tune" with the world around them can access this energy. The effects depends on what is around the caster, since this energy manifests itself in one of 12 different forms (at last count).

    The caster can use any energy within a mile or so from them, beyond that, they cannot sense or use it.

    They can either cobble together rude spells, which require practice to perfect, or in the case of transmuters, can harness the energy and use it outright or only part of it to alter how an existing spell works. Coldfire is an example of this. So cold it burns.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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