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How can a creature created from magic be limited in its magical range?


Mana pathways are a pseudo-nervous system that spreads itself throughout the human body and are what qualifies a person to be a mage. Along the pathways are mana gates, specific points that connect the material world to the astral plane. These gates are activated by a mage's life force through spells, allowing one to convert life energy into magical energy. The number of gates a mage has is determined at birth, with an individual's power depending on the number of gates they have. Adding to the number of gates through artificial means is dangerous, as the human body has limits to the amount of magic power it can contain. In addition, transplanting an artificial gate into the body is similar to an organ transplant, which can reject the foreign invader and cause irreparable damage to the host. However, there is a way for a mage to increase their power through external means that allows them to gain access to a larger amount of mana gates with no added risk to themselves.

Within each male sperm cell is a microscopic organism known as animalcule, a complete preformed individual representing miniature versions of human beings. These preformed humans develop and enlarge into fully formed human beings through the process of conception and birth. Magecraft allows individuals to bypass this process to create artificial life in order to create a perfect servant loyal to its creator, known as a homunculus. These homunculi are grown within a specially built cauldron designed to hold magic brews. This brew is filled with various ingredients, such as eye of newt, as well as other lay ingredients, such as cow intestines and the seed of the mage in question. The resulting "child" emerges from this concoction as a fully grown adult, bound to obey its master's commands. Although they are intelligent, homunculi lack free will and individuality, making them the perfect servant.

While they appear to be human, homunculi are more like mana contained within a physical form. As they were born from magic, They are immortal and physically difficult to destroy. As such, they are lack the limitations of the human body. This allows them to contain as many mana gates as their master wills or can afford, allowing them to achieve levels of magical power that human beings are incapable of. However, while they are more powerful magically, they are limited to a specific spell. This design flaw is not intentional, as most mages agree that they are better served with their creation being as diverse as possible. This forces beings like homunculi into areas of specialization, limiting their uses and preventing mages from maximizing them to their full potential.

The more magical a creature is, the more restricted its range of magic. How can this be the case?


Well, since free will and individuality evidently come from the womb it's not hard to say that magical flexibility come from it as well.


You could make it that the homunculi need to be catalyzed while still in the cauldron. So, the creator has to put magic into the brew and whatever spell they use is the spell that the homunculus can recreate...


The abundance of magic that exists inside of them requires more focus to contain, and as the pool grows, the focus required increases...eventually reaching a point where to attempt to use magic in small ways becomes an avenue to loss of control of the whole of it... so creatures with too much abundance eventually become limited to only a few things they can do and still contain the power.

Kind of like a balloon filled with water. If I poke a hole, the water leaks out. The more water in the balloon creating pressure, the more it sprays out when perforated. If the pressure is too much, the balloon will be destroyed by it. A small hole with little pressure can be easily taped over and contained, but if the pressure is too much, even a small hole can be ruinous. So, if I want to control the amount of water that is intentionally leaked from the balloon, I better make small holes and give them a lot of attention.


The more magical a creature is, the more restricted its range of magic. How can this be the case?

In order to get to the level at which the creature exists, the more specialized it has to be. This can either be developed or innate (like what Scott suggested, and the direction I would go, especially given the nature of the creation) - the mage must create with a specific purpose or intention - the more specific, the more powerful. Perhaps, less skilled mages are only able to create generic homunculi; the masters are able to create extremely specific, extremely powerful versions.

The suggestion above makes it more of a spectrum and less of a binary on/off. If you want to get rid of the uninteresting/unused part of the spectrum, perhaps a quick backstory as to why it exists, but mages haven't had a use for it in X years.

Side question - does conversion of life energy into magical energy reduce the lifespan of the mage?
Also the other issue that you face with homunculi specificly, they lack some very important parts to cast more complex spells.

The first and most difficult huddle for complex spells is their extremely low I.Q.
Then you come to the next hurdle to over come they generally don't have the ability to speak any language what so ever limiting their spell pool further.

Then you come to the point that they also can't read and that ruels out them studying and perfecting the entire motions and Wording for high powered spells