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Emotions based magic

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ProudPan, Feb 14, 2021.

  1. ProudPan

    ProudPan New Member

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    Could this magic system work?
    - the ability to perform magic is a recessive genetic trait

    - magic is based on emotion

    - without training magic may be used accidentally when the user is experiencing strong emotions

    -with training a magic user can prevent this from happening but it may still occur when they feel very deep emotions

    - the color of anything produced by magic is unique to the user, this applies to everything even if it couldn't be that color naturally

    - at its most basic the type or material of magic produced depends on the emotion, fo example fire is commonly produced by anger, water can be produced by determination, jealousy will often immediately effect the target, vines or plants may be produced by happiness, spiritual magic can be produced by grief etc

    - with training a magic user can produce more complex substances, such as food or items. as well as having more control over the basic types of magic

    - casting a spell will cause the user to feel the emotions involved in the spell during the casting and for a duration afterwards that depends on the strength of a spell

    - certain kinds of spells are not taught due to them being strong enough to cause the user to lose the ability to feel emotions other than those used to cast the spell, examples include things like bringing back the dead, instantly killing someone, taking control of someone's body, etc

    - someone who has performed these spells can continue to perform these spells without more effects, they also are not affected emotionally by casting spells. Some magic users choose to preform these spells to gain more power, however this is considered morally wrong by the majority of magic users

    - casting strong spells can be exhausting for the same reasons things like panic attacks can be. this especially applies to spells using negative emotions

    - the more a spell is cast, the less time it will take for the user to recover

    - emotions can be stored in objects to be used later, or to stop one from accidentally using a spell

    - objects that are important or hold an emotional significance to the user can be enchanted, many magic users take jobs in enchanting weapons

    - potions are not considered magic, and are rather considered to be chemistry

    - some creatures have natural magical abilities, these are also not considered true magic and are rather a more biological feature
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. sounds perfectly reasonable and not far from other systems with similar aspects, but with your own unique touches. go for it. what story are you trying to tell? or are you world build driven and not got a story in mind yet? (i do that all the time so.... not the world building. ..the no story in mind part)
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    One thing I'd suggest is having more possible signature qualities to magic than just color. Unlike with something like comics or cartoons when you're writing you can have someone's magic say, smell of sweet flowers or come with a rush of heat like standing in front of an open oven. (Or both at once which is what I did for one of my characters.)
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. +1 to QueshireQueshire

    there is someone else on the forum that was using a color based signifier for magic. Vicki27Vicki27 I am pretty sure. Check their stuff but also maybe connect as you may find some kinship there.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  5. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

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    I don't think "determination" is an emotion. It's a frame of mind. Also, do you NEED to have emotion [x] to do [x] magic? Or does casting an [x] spell forces you to feel [x]?

    Your magic system sets up some interesting avenues for storytelling. You might have heard of the term "emotional labor," so people who do magic stuff for a living (the enchanters you mentioned) deal with this in a big way. The doctor in the ER is doing emotional labor by putting their emotions aside so they can concentrate on saving your life, but what if they need to also force themselves to have an additional, maybe even contradictory, emotion to do healing magic? How do you force yourself to be happy when your patient is dying? What if its anger, it would be traumatizing as a sick kid to have an adult be focusing all this anger on you. People who do magic for a living are going to be exhausted in ways laypeople may not even understand, and they may resort to things to remedy it. Lots of people in the restaurant industry use drugs, especially uppers, to do the work they do. Are there potions, plants or minerals that make it easier to feel [x] or lessens the toll of emotional labor? If you want to get into the neurochemistry of this, there could also be "risk-seeking behaviors" people may seek out to get the brain chemicals they need to do this work. Whatever counts as extreme sports in your setting, maybe the red light district is especially lucrative, lots of possibilities there.

    Also how do people who suffer from emotional dysregulation fit into this world? You can get this from tons of different things: ADHD, C-PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, Autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injuries...You probably know someone who suffers from emotional dysregulation, if you don't yourself. If "anger" allows you to do a very powerful/$$$ making type of magic, do people with BPD flock to it because they know they can trigger extreme fits of anger very easily? Does using magic "use up" the emotion and brings them back to a baseline level, or is it still there afterward? Maybe you have a BPD healer who triggers themself so they can save the lives of others, but now they have this overwhelming emotion they still need to get rid of, do they take it out on others? Do they harm themselves? Do they feel they have to do this because saving others is more important than the pain they cause themselves? What sort of person ends up in a situation like that? Or does emotional dysregulation keep you from being able to use magic effectively. You have your hero who goes on their Big Quest to save the world. They go through something traumatic (village burnt down by the bad guy, mentor gets killed, they save the day through sheer luck or someone showing up at the last second to save them), but now they're dealing with PTSD and cannot use magic like they have before, or they lose their place in the guild/the king's court/whatever because "Oh, they can't even control their EMOTIONS, what a failure of a sorcerer, we can't trust them to be in a position of influence anymore." How do they handle that? Or what if there's a kid who really wants to go to magic school, but they're having trouble in ways the other kids aren't, and they're diagnosed with ADHD or Autism. Do they get sent to a different school? Are they just written off as a lost cause? Are they permanently barred from entering the magic guild?

    The one thing I would caution against is having only the bad guy(s) have emotional dysregulation, since mental illness = bad is very common in media and isn't a very cool thing to do. There's always a need for more characters, especially protagonists, who are neurodivergent, and you don't see them a lot in SFF (outside of "autistic savants"). If this is something you deal with yourself, you could do an #ownvoices thing, which agents/editors/readers always love to see. If you don't, that's okay, too, just make sure to have sensitivity readers or a "subject expert" (someone who has [mental illness]) to help you.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  6. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    According to DC comics determination is an emotion. Well, they call it will, but it amounts to the same thing. It's what Green Lantern's ring runs off of. (As opposed to say, a Red Lantern running off of rage or a Blue Lantern off of hope.)

    Hrm, as someone with both Autism and ADHD I'd reccomend not addressing emotional disregulation unless you're confident that you can do it right.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  7. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    JK Rowling touched on this concept in the Harry Potter books, its why young wizards get called to Hogwarts and other schools.

    I don't see any particular problem with the concept, not given that emotions do have an impact on us and how we act and react in real life. A real life example from my personal experiences. As a dyslexic, I can read and write very well without any artificial aids for short periods, but this requires enormous concentration and it takes me several hours to recover afterwards. Using things like software to help makes things much easier, but it is still tiring over the course of the day. At the end of a day my ability to write has gone down a great deal, and I tend to leave writing long, complex or difficult bits of text until the morning, simply because its easier then.
     
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  8. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

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    What is the cost of the magic? Other than when you're untrained you run the risk of accidentally doing something.So far, it only seems like you get tired a bit when casting magic.

    Of course, it's not always needed. In Harry Potter there is very little cost to magic for instance, you don't even get tired, except maybe muscle fatigue from waving the wand around. But then the story isn't really about the magic. And having some kind of cost might make the magic more interesting.
     
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  9. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Not all autistic people have emotional dysregulation.
     
  10. ProudPan

    ProudPan New Member

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    I’m actually making a graphic novel XD
     
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  11. ProudPan

    ProudPan New Member

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    This is really interesting! First of all I do agree that determination itself isn’t really an emotion, that would be a mistake on my part! And second of all, you’d must feel the emotions to cast the spell, however casting the spell can cause the side effect of only feeling that emotion or emotions for a duration of time after the casting of the spell. Although I had thought through the idea of the emotional toll of magic heavy careers, I didn’t actually think about the idea of people in these careers turning to less than healthy methods to reduce the toll! Also as someone with ADHD myself I didn’t even think about the effects that and other disorders that can cause emotional disregulation might have! That could be something really interesting to explore! In terms of what would be done with such people I would say depending on the place they live they might either be a priority to train to help regulate their magic, or they might simply be killed or exiled, due to the danger they could cause!
     
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  12. ProudPan

    ProudPan New Member

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    I would say the cost would be a combination of only being able to feedlot the emotions used to cast the spell for a duration afterwards, as well as emotional fatigue!
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
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