1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Magic System- Help!

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Dark Lord Thomas Pie, May 7, 2020.

  1. Dark Lord Thomas Pie

    Dark Lord Thomas Pie Troubadour

    155
    56
    28
    I'm about to start a story somewhat based on Greek Mythology (but Science Fantasy), But I don't really know what my magic system should be. I've never really worked on magic systems for any of my writing. All I know is that I want it to be alongside technology and wielded by wizard priests, that's about it. I could use some ideas or advice.--I'm also thinking about having beard length affect magical power, and that is including females, I'm using an alien species.
     
  2. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    1,467
    335
    83
    Perhaps you should go with a runic magic; i.e. you etch a rune on a piece of paper, it has an effect. Could work well if you want to fuse magic and technology together, since you could easily enchant objects just by etching runes. An experiment I tried was a sort-of old west mixed with magic so the main character (a dwarvish engraver/merchant) could use her shotgun with exploding, fireball or deep freeze shells. It was an interesting dynamic that warrants further world-building.

    I could see flaming crossbows, or trebuchets that launch exploding rocks. I see blimps/airships that use hot air and charmed cannons, it's crew with featherfall charms, or maybe even ones with special uniforms that allow them to glide. Imagine 100 soldiers gliding down from above onto a battlefield.
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  3. Clara Atsinger

    Clara Atsinger Dreamer

    23
    8
    3
    I agree with Saigonnus, or you could create a series of spoken spells. You could use a combination of Latin, Sanskrit, etc. I would also have your magic be limited in some ways- I like the idea you have with the beard length- so that even the most powerful wizard cannot go on and on performing huge spells without resting or eating etc. But that's just my inner D&D nerd coming out so don't feel the need to do that;)
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  4. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    1,467
    335
    83
    I limited mine in a fairly typical way. Every “engraving” an engraver does takes a bit of their life force, the amount depending on the difficulty of the charm and how often you use it. A freshly rested engraver might manage a dozen minor glyphs before they feel tired again. If they do more than that, it starts to adversely affect them to the point where they can burn out, or even die,
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  5. huscarl

    huscarl Dreamer

    11
    7
    3
    What about magic of artifice? If you want technology and magic to be "alongside" make the magic technology and technology magic. As for beards - it takes a long time to learn and thus the people that practice artifice are old(er) and have beards.

    Some things to think about... What is it that you want the magic to do? Both for story purposes and in world? Why do people learn and practice it?

    Semper Fidelis
    Eric
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  6. Dark Lord Thomas Pie

    Dark Lord Thomas Pie Troubadour

    155
    56
    28
    Thank you for all of the feedback! I think I have a pretty good idea of where to start off on.
     
  7. Dark Lord Thomas Pie

    Dark Lord Thomas Pie Troubadour

    155
    56
    28
    So, I went back and decided that the beard's influence on magic was that it would turn pale and brittle once you use it, and if you try again, it will fall out. Wizard's beards are black, most people have white beards.
     
  8. Angry Briar Rabbit

    Angry Briar Rabbit Dreamer

    17
    4
    3
    Here are some of my thoughts ...

    What is the relationship of magic to the story? How important is it? Does the understanding of the magical system a requirement for the audience to understand the story?

    In Star Wars: A New Hope, we are placed in a world where the audience is already educated in many of the mechanisms of science fiction. How a space ship functioned did not need to be explained, but the magical system did. Albeit in a simple piece of dialog, it was enough to allow the audience to understand the concept. How much of the workings of the magical system will be required to be understood by your audience for them to follow the story?

    What is the internal archetype of the magical system? If you had to use one word to describe it, what would that word be? Complex? Simple? Are massive tomes of arcane lore required reading for the magicians or will simple runes carved in wood blocks be sufficient?

    How does the world interact with magic and their magicians? Do they tolerate magic or do they love it? Are there ones whom hate it? Why? What is the world's general attitude towards magic? Are there regional differences? Are there differences in opinion depending on the character's race or gender?

    Is the ability to use magic acquired through studied education similar to science? Or is it more advanced like engineering? Is it an art form which requires multiple skills to be acquired before creating things in the abstract?

    Is the magician a skilled individual like an athlete? Or are the magicians in your world more like academics whom spend all of their time studying? Can average characters use magic through the possession of items? Or is magical use limited to the innate few?

    Where does the magic come from? From the gods themselves or from the Terra that the characters are walking on? Is the magic flavored by the environment which they are in? Do jungle or woodland forest or deserts cast different spells?

    A system that I developed had both technology and magic in parallel. They interacted with the physical world through an API. This allowed different mechanisms to achieve the same result. Where technology was boring, it was also consistent and accessible to all characters. Magic was chaotic and exciting, but it was only accessible to the few.

    Is the magic infinite or finite? Where does the magic energy go after the spell has been cast? Is the magic energy storable? In this case, do the beards store magical energy? Or do they dictate how strong the magical spell could be?

    How is the spell cast? Speech, actions or items are the most common. If there are magical items, how are they activated?

    These are just a few questions that I ask myself when building a magical system for a world. What I do is to write the story while allowing the magic to develop within it. After you write the story in a rough form, review it. Reverse engineer the system that you created. This approach allows the system to develop organically.

    I hope this helps!

    All the best, ABR
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  9. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

    481
    331
    63
    This might be a bit of a homework assignment... but
    How well-versed are you in ancient Greek philosophical and sacred geometry / mathematical thinking?

    Specifically, Plato and Pythagoras...

    Platonic idealism - Wikipedia
    ^ To forewarn, this is an over-simplified explanation and you should do more research. A lot more research.

    Derivities of this also include higher mathematic and geometric principles, one of which being the Fibonnaci sequence and balancing complex equations, etc.

    I think "mathematics" being the basis of a magic system and symbols of perfect, sacred geometry (like runic magic) could be a very interesting foundation for a magic system... and, as this is also science fiction, magic being an aspect of cosmic mathematics and post-Newtonian physics might work really well for you?

    You could also explore the idea of solipsism as a grander metaphysical concept... as Plato's Theory of Forms kind of flirts with as a counter-balance, imo. . That would make your system almost... about reality bending, even powered by psychosomatic understandings of the physical world... not unlike that famous line from the Matrix "There is no spoon."

    If you are not the expression of your perfect form in the physical plane ... but there is a way to access your perfect form (or anything's perfect form) and utilize it in the physical plane... could that be indeed be magical?

    Might be too ...cereberal and cumbersome for your ambitions? I just remember trying to help a friend study for a test on Plato's Theory of Forms and it popped back into my head just now. (We had to resort to flashcards, lol)
     
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  10. Dark Lord Thomas Pie

    Dark Lord Thomas Pie Troubadour

    155
    56
    28


    Too late, I already started writing it, the magic system is all fleshed out now.
     
    Night Gardener likes this.
  11. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

    481
    331
    63
    No worries! Happy writing!
     
  12. Dark Lord Thomas Pie

    Dark Lord Thomas Pie Troubadour

    155
    56
    28
    You too.
     
    Night Gardener likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page