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Egomancer, my magic system

Discussion in 'World Building' started by WooHooMan, May 27, 2019.

  1. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    I've noticed there's been a couple of threads recently about magic systems. I've kind of wanted to make one to help get my magic system written down in a comprehensive way but the problem was that I don't really have a strong enough grasp on this system to really write it down. So, I've decided to ask some of my magic-using characters about how magic works.

    So, I'll be asking some questions from a questionaire I found to three of my characters:

    First, I'll be questioning the character Demiurgus, the four-to-five thousand-year-old god of magic, science, knowledge and death who is credited as being the "inventor of magic" and the world's first wizard.

    1. How many different magic systems coexist in this world?

    Demiurgus: One. It has long been erroneously believed that there are many. The Goblins (or Orcs, as they were known in ancient times) believed there were four: divine, druidic, demonic and alchemic.
    The Southern Dragon School of Magic, founded about 3000 years ago by the Budh Sominus priests, categorized magic as being arcane, mental, elemental or life. This evolved into the Theory of Twelve Forms which was more of a method of categorizing spells rather than magic itself.
    There was also Geneha Platus with her theory of lesser, basic and greater magic. She was a student of Zadimus who was a student of Alkahest who was a student of mine.
    Again, these are all false. Magic is magic. No need to complicate it.

    2. Is magic the same as the supernatural (what can't be explained with your world's scientific knowledge)? Is magic always supernatural? Is the supernatural always magical? If you answered no to any of the previous questions, what's the difference between magic and the supernatural?

    Demiurgus: Yes, they are one in the same. However, it can be explained through reason, science and logic. As can all things. It is no coincidence that I am the god of both science and magic.

    3. From the point of view of the people in your world, is magic an exceptional and rare sight, or is it commonplace?

    Demiurgus: Initially, it was rare but over time, it has become common. This seems to be how all skills and knowledge work. Mortals have a wonderful capacity for learning and adapting.

    4. Who or what created magic?

    Demiurgus: It has existed for as long as consciousness existed. In the mortal world, it was my cohorts (the gods Magnus, Atomis and the Kingslayer) and myself who first used it and brought this ability to mortals.

    4. What for?

    Demiurgus: Mortals were initially no better than animals - they were ape-men and troglodytes. We believed they could be more than beasts with the skills that we had: language, philosophy, reason, art and, of course, magic.

    5. How did that turn-out?

    Demiurgus: All things considered, it could have gone worse.

    Now, the next batch of questions will be addressed to the character Zung Zhang, a "blue-collar wizard" or sorts who works as a bar owner during the day but is a pretty big name in the magician subculture.

    1. Do you have to be gifted in order to use magic? If so, is that gift common or rare?

    Zung: You need a gift, alright. Ego is what drives magic - you got to have a lot of confidence in yourself to make it work! Doubt is the big roadblock to doing magic. People are loaded with doubt so magic-using ain't all that common.

    2. Is it necessary to learn magic in order to be able to use it, and if so, is it difficult?

    Zung: Yeah but it ain't really all that hard to learn in. You just got to sit down and commit to it. It's a life-long process. It's a commitment, y'know.

    3. Are there requirements for someone to begin using magic (like some kind of "awakening" or "attunement")?

    Zung: So, like, the story with me, my awakening: I went to a concert for the band "Infinite Avalanche" - they're a dance...electrowave-type group - and a snuck-in a whole bunch of cocaine. So, I was in the bathroom snorting it and shouting my lungs out in the stall for like 20 minutes. Then I came-out just drenched in sweat and jumping around yelling nonsence - it was great! I felt like I was disconnected from the material world but I was just kind of drifting in a sea of chaos, being bounced around, back and forth.
    Then the band played their song "Wind It Around" and I had a, like, religious experience. Like everyone there, myself included, all got on the same page and we kind of...like, transcended the material world and we were giving each other direction and feeding of each other's energy.
    And I was like "oh, this is magic! This is the most magical magic there is!" Some wizards use incantations and wands and glyphs but that's old hat! This is the future of magic! Once I had this revelation, magic came pretty naturally to me. I understood it. I had a real drive to do it!

    So, I went into the magic game with that attitude: individual-based magic with old tools was last season! Group magic with modern tools is the new hotness! Art and personality can be a tool for channeling magic and the magic of others.

    4. Are there any categories of people who have little or no chance of ever being able to use magic?

    Zung: You need a lot of willpower and confidence. So, the people who can't do magic, I call them "losers".

    5. Is it possible to naturally gain or lose the gift of magic?

    Zung: Is it possible to lose your sense of self, your ego and your drive? Yes, totally.

    6. Is it possible to perceive the presence of mana / magical energy? If so, who can do it (all magic-users, some of them, everyone...)? What exactly is perceived? Is it possible to purposefully hide it?

    Zung: if you're in a room with someone for long enough, you can tell if they have ego or charisma. That's the only way to tell if someone would be strong with magic. But that doesn't tell you how much they actually know about it.

    So, that's it for Zung. The next batch of questions will be targeted to the character Paragon Tusk: criminal, thief, murderer, former politician and one of the most powerful magic users in existence.

    1. Does the use of magic have consequences on the magic-user's health?

    Tusk: Only their mental health and only if they're stupid about it.

    2. If anything, what does one sacrifice / "pay" in order to use magic? When (before casting the spell, while doing it, afterwards)? In what circumstances? Is the magic-user aware of this sacrifice when doing it? If not, does the magic-user usually notice it later?

    Tusk: It's an opportunity cost. You could spend years learning and practicing magic...or you could get a real job. I took the easy way.

    3. Is there anything that is technically impossible to achieve using magic?

    Tusk: No. The only limit is the user himself.

    4. Are any items necessary in order to use magic, such as a magic wand or another item with a similar function?

    Tusk: Magic is all about focus. Some people can just focus their wills naturally, other people need tools. Stuff like sigils and chants or whatever - they're basically placebos. They trick the wizard into thinking they're doing magic...but once the wizard believes they're doing magic, they do it. People are weirdly gullible like that. And, I guess, reality itself is equally gullible when up against a good wizard.

    5. Do non-magic-users (if there are any) have misconceptions about magic?

    Tusk: Yeah but in the same way that stupid people seem to think crap like basic logic is some kind of astonishing feat of intellect.

    Ok, final questions of all three of them: what is the most powerful magic of all?

    Demiurgus: A ritual I developed called the Aetic Experiment: if performed correctly, it would destroy the universe and create a new one with the mage as God. Fortunately, few have attempted it and none have successfully executed it.

    Zung: The most powerful magic of all? Love...naturally.

    Tusk: My magic.

    Questionnaire taken from this source:
    Worldbuilding sheet: Magic systems - v2
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I mostly kind of like it, but one thing jumps out at me as a big red flag:

    Are you suggesting that magic is a personality type? And one that's prone to douchiness?

    I would suggest taking time to explore that concept a lot more, what it means to have "ego," and how very differently characters might express it. The more your system is "Type-A Personalities only," the more of a massive turn off I think it's going to be.
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    Magic isn't a personality type. But personality is linked with magic. It's supposed to be more about willpower, creativity, sense of purpose and belief in oneself rather than egotism.
    Zung and Tusk are both egotists so that's why it comes-off as being tied to douche-ness. Overall, I wouldn't be surprised if douches have a better chance of learning magic, now that I think about it.

    As I've said, I don't have a good grasp on this system yet.
    Also, the title of this thread was just meant to eye-catching. I'm not actually using the term "egomancy".
  4. Futhark

    Futhark Sage

    Sounds novel enough. If I’m reading it right, then it’s basically ‘if you believe you can do magic, then you can do magic’. So you would have ‘I am one with the universe’ guru types at one end of the spectrum, and sociopathic ‘I have the Power’ types at the other. Sounds like there might be a lot of self help seminars and workshops in this world :).
    Joe’s Twelve Steps To Aquire The Right Juju!

    One thing I am curious about. As Zung says, magic ain’t all that hard, it’s just about willpower and confidence; so what is it that magicians are committing to and practicing?

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