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Feedback on my magic style

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Gandalf, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. Gandalf

    Gandalf Dreamer

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    I have been writing about my background lore recently, and wrote long and hard about my magic. Warning: it's fairly long.

    "Magic is the force of the supernatural. It can be used to control the elements, change shape, summon demons, speak with spirits and have all manner of other abilities. All mages must exercise caution when practicing magic – commit to casting too powerful a spell, and the caster will die. There areten magical disciplines:
    Shapeshifting: This, as the name implies, is the art of changing one’s shape. This requires a great deal of will, not to mention having to have knowledge of the creature beforehand. It is achieved by studying the creature to be shifted into, both its natural habits and its shape. When understanding of the animal has been achieved, the mage can cast a transformation spell on himself/herself to turn into that particular creature.
    Summoning: Summoning is generally frowned upon as an art that can easily be misused – it is the summoning of spirits and demons. This magic is only for the powerful-willed, as any summoned demon has to be subdued by willpower before it can be turned to the summoner’s use. Demons are generally malicious entities, but are only ever seen in the company of a summoner. Likewise, spirits can only be seen when summoned, and never be alone. Spirits, unlike demons, are not very capable of aid in a battle, but can be very informative. They can provide details on just about anything, from a cooking recipe to who is likely to be elected next Kindred Archmage.
    Natural: Natural magic commands the elements. It is as hard to master as each element is volatile, but it is the most commonly studied magic. The most powerful natural mages can summon thunderstorms, incinerate large areas, and cause rivers to flood or freeze at a moment’s notice. The basic elements for command are: Fire, Water, Air and Earth.
    Psychic: The ability to teleport and read minds, among other things, is alluring to many. Psychic magic is one of the less directly offensive disciplines, with abilities like teleportation and reading weaker-willed individuals’ minds. It also comes with the ability to move things with your mind – the heavier the object, the more willpower it takes to lift. The most powerful psychics could lift whole buildings. Potentially even whole mountains. They could rip the world apart if they were powerful and numerous enough, but then, so could any discipline. The psychics are pretty rare as mages go anyway.
    Shadow: Wielding shadow magic is wielding raw power. A shadowmancer pours all of their power into an item, anything at all, and this item will then be a raw weapon programmed distinctly into that person. Should anyone else attempt to wield a shadowmancer’s weapon, it will not work. A shadowmancer’s ring would just be a regular ring to anyone else; but to him, he would be able to create shadows and control the ones already existing. Shadows made solid can be a powerful weapon, but shadow magic is generally not used much. There are small pockets of shadowmancers in most nations, and some extremely expensive mercenaries use this, but in respected institutions, it is a rare discipline.
    Kinemancy: The power of sheer magnetism; the pulling and pushing of raw force is used by a kinemancer. With a wave of his hand, an incredibly powerful kinemancer could level cities and devastate armies. However, kinemancy takes more effort in sheer willpower than any other discipline, so much so that barely any can wield it. Those who can barely ever try to wield it, as other disciplines can be more rewarding earlier than kinemancy. This leads to there being barely any kinemancers, and those that do exist are usually Grand Mages or the Kindred Archmage in Kindred lands, or hermits in other lands.
    Illusion: Illusion magic is not at all powerful, and is usually used by mages who enjoy magic, but put other training first. It can startle enemies, shroud people and objects into invisibility, and alter the way people think about something. In its own way, it has power unmatched by any other, but illusionists usually have some kind of melee or archery training, to defend in battle when against strong-willed warriors like elite dwarven troops. While other disciplines have a direct way of fighting, illusion focuses more on avoiding the fight in the first place.
    Physical: Just as psychics utilise their magic to augment their minds, physical mages use their power to augment their bodies. Powerful physical mages can run faster than a natural athlete at the cost of exerting themselves in the same way a natural mage would casting a spell. They can hit things harder than any warrior, but the strength of the blow depends on the exertion. They do this by learning to channel magic to their muscles as a substitute or alongside oxygen from their lungs; this allows them to be some of the most physically fit people on the planet.
    Vitamancy: Vitamancy is the wielding of life force. Vitamancers are healers, and some would say they are the most influential discipline. They can heal wounds, ranging from cuts and bruises to near-fatal stabbings, deep arrow wounds, and such – depending on the power of the mage. They may be scarce, but every court is known to have one or two vitamancers in their staff. Their power can also be terrible: their healing works by the vitamancer coming into physical contact with the patient, and thereby searching the patient’s body for the affliction or wound. This also has the unfortunate side-effect of being able to feel the patient’s pain – but, just as a wound can be closed, flesh can be torn from the inside outwards. In this way a vitamancer can stop a heart, freeze a brain, or even rip someone limb from limb. They also have the hindrance of having to be able to touch the victim/patient in order to work their power. This is also a relatively newly-developed discipline, and most practitioners find it unwieldy at times.
    Tainted: Tainted Magic is the only outright forbidden art. It is wielded by the Blightchildren and their Doomfathers on the Unnamed Continent, and also by any mage Darkfollower who has surrendered enough power to the Dark. It uses willpower like all magic, but can also take others’ blood and life force as a sacrifice for spells that would otherwise kill. Any life or land affected by it turns twisted as the Taint spreads. It can be used to force other, weaker-willed beings into service, as well as corrupt living things. Its main offensiveness lies in sapping the life force of an enemy and causing them great pain in the process."


    Feedback? Thoughts? Constructive criticism?
     
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  2. Phietadix

    Phietadix Archmage

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    Can a mage use more than one type of these? If so how many? Can one mage master them all?
     
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  3. Gandalf

    Gandalf Dreamer

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    A mage can choose a discipline, and experiment with any discipline until they are satisfied with one. There are laws on magic which dictate that, when a mage comes of age, he or she must go through a ritual to lock their powers into a discipline. Once this ritual has occurred, the mage is more powerful in their discipline, but cannot use the other disciplines. Of course, rogue polymagicians exist, but they are hunted ruthlessly whenever one is sighted. The exception to the locking is Tainted Magic, which is bestowed through following the Dark God.
     
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  4. kilost

    kilost Scribe

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    Took a while to get through, but I like it. Every kind of magic is represented here :L

    What determines which a mage will go for? Personal preference, aptitude, ancestry? Does each race, be it a human race or a fantasy style race i.e. dwarves, elves, humans, have its own magic?
     
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  5. Gandalf

    Gandalf Dreamer

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    Races have aptitudes, but mostly it's down to personal choice. Humans are better shadowmancers and sometimes psychics or physicals, Dwarves are better nature mages, half-elves are the best illusionists, and elves have aptitude for whatever they want, but tend to prefer the less directly-combative ones, like psychic, physical or summoning. The orks don't have many mages, due to their seclusion from the rest of the world, but the ones that do are usually weak polymagicians, due to not knowing the ritual. Ork mages generally hold high positions in their culture, like advisers or tribe chiefs.
     
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  6. Zokoke

    Zokoke New Member

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    It's a good start, however there are some things that you could explain to help others understand how exactly this system works. For example, you state that magic is supernatural, but where does it come from? Is there another world parallel to this world? Is it divinely given? It would be interesting to know the nature of magic. I also noticed that a lot of magic requires willpower, but does magic require something such as a magic users energy or part of their life to start?

    How does one become a user of magic? Is it based on a rare genetic mutation, is it given to select individuals by the god(s) or can anyone learn magic? As a reader, I want to know how common magic is within the stories world?

    Creating some rules around magic can help give more depth to your world. It can also provide a possible conflict that your characters can face in your story.
     
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  7. Gandalf

    Gandalf Dreamer

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    I have these rules, they're just under different entries in various documents.

    I'm not too sure on the details of where it comes from, but for magic to be wielded it requires sufficient willpower to harness it. The stronger a magician's will, the more powerful they can be. There are also other ways to strengthen power, but they require dealing with various supernatural forces.

    You become a user of magic by being taught by pretty much anything that knows it, whether a person or even just a book. The Mage Clouds (the magical schools in the Elven territories) generally have teachers in all of the disciplines, but also various different books on the applications of magic.

    Anyone can learn magic; it just requires someone to learn how to harness their abilities.
     
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  8. krunchee

    krunchee Scribe

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    I love the different classes of mage you have designed.

    I do however think that even though everyone can access magic perhaps the tutors at the mage cloud would send people on their way should their will be too low to do anything great. Otherwise I feel magic is too common and holds little value.

    As far as where magic comes from, I once had the idea that within every atom there was a magic particle which in my story was called "arca". Mages used their will to excite the arca particles and bend matter to their will. Perhaps that is something that would work for you?

    I look forward to seeing a snippet of your work in the showcase.
     
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  9. Gandalf

    Gandalf Dreamer

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    Thanks! Always nice to hear that people appreciate your work. :)

    I think that that is an interesting, let alone original, point of view. I don't think it would work for my disciplines though, but it's a good idea anyhow. :)
     
  10. RTGerardson

    RTGerardson Acolyte

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    Would this mean that the more powerful a mage is, the more evil and/or powerful the summoned entity will possibly be? Also, might this also mean that summoners are perhaps prone to visitations of ghosts and such, because of their affinity with the other world?

    The name Natural to me sounds like a collection of abilities to command animals, plants and lifeforce in general. Maybe you would be better off calling it Elemental magic? Just a thought. :)

    For some reason, Psychic magic and Illusion magic seem to have a bit of a common ground (mainly with influencing the mind). Since you state below that Illusion magic is generally low powered and studied as a kind of afterthought, maybe it would be more logical to fit it into Psychic as a kind of subschool. That on the account of Illusion being a not often studied school, it's existence would be more logical if it was a subspecialty of a larger domain. I would suggest that summoning a glamour or small trick would be some kind of mass illusion, that trades actual power in for wide influence. So you could either influence one person greatly by changing the way he thinks, or summoning the image of a long dead king in front of a large group of spectators, but not actually influencing them in any other way.
    This is enchantment, if I'm guessing correctly. Honestly, this kind of seems a bit superfluous to me. I can see a Nature mage infusing the power of lightning into a sword, Summoner binding a demon or wraith to an amulet, forcing it into servitude or a Vitamancer creating a crystal of pure life that heals the person who breaks it. I think you would make mages a bit more flexible this way and then reserve certain specialties to certain races, people or areas (e.g. only the orcs or Ugadweyre are able to fully capture the power of fire into objects because of their connection with the mountain god Vulkan, the secret of bound weapons (which only function fully when in the hands of those they are bound to) is closely guarded by the warrior monks of the Amber Seal).

    From my point of view, this seems like a kind of Vitamancy Plus. Understanding the body is probably vital for this to work, as is Vitamancy. Maybe you could divide Vitamancy into two focus areas: one targeting the self and the other dealing with other people.

    If you want to use this kind of magic as a plot device, how about changing it into darker applications of already existing schools? That way, you can easily explain how mages went to the 'dark side', as the knowledge was already there and they only needed the motivation. Also, this makes it possible to have some gray areas for lead characters to explore and if you are having orders that focus on particular schools, you just created a good base for some magical cloak and dagger games.

    Just my two cents. Sorry about taking a cleaver to your work, it's all well meant, though. :)
     
  11. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe

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    I think the categories you have laid out are great. As was mentioned already, what's interesting but not described in any detail, but is a very interesting topic, is what exactly magic is in your world. You said it was the force of the supernatural. I actually hate the word supernatural, because it implies that its somehow otherworldly, from a realm that has a different nature than the one the story takes place in. I think it complicates things unnecessarily. There is nothing wrong with magic being a completely natural part of your world.
    It seems that the most important aspect of magic in your descriptions is willpower, which I think is a great concept. I think some very interesting and meaningful points can be written if the idea of will power is given a decent role in your story.

    Great Stuff, keep it up!
     
  12. Creed

    Creed Sage

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    To possibly help in what RTGerardson said on account of the differences between Psychic and Illusion magic, I could put forward examples from Skyrim. In one book, the major difference between Alteration and Illusion magic is described. It says that Alteration magic is the changing of the world's properties (like making fire freeze, or breathing underwater) while Illusion magic enforces something upon the affected's mind. Perhaps this would work for you, except the opposite? Psychic magic is a change in a mental state, and not in the real world (ie reading a mind, or dementing a mind with visions). Illusion magic is the creation of an illusion that does exist, and is observed by those around it. So the difference is that Psychic magic fills the victim's mind with horrors or such, while the Illusion Mage takes light and bends it so that an actual, real projection is put before the victim, and not solely in the victims mind. It's the same as the Illusion Mage bending all light away from the Mage, thus rendering him partially-invisible, but by creating an illusion, not by forcing a restriction on the minds of those he/she is attempting to slip past.
    That is what makes sense to me, anyways. Hope that helps! :cool:
     
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