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Name Your Favorite Magic System Cliches

Discussion in 'World Building' started by C. R. Rowenson, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. C. R. Rowenson

    C. R. Rowenson Scribe

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    We all have those small guilty pleasures. What are some magic system cliches you can't get enough of?

    Me personally, I love any kind of magic that results in disturbing physical modifications or body horror. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that stuff doesn't exist, but I love seeing it in books, movies, and games.
     
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    Like calls to like is a favorite of mine. Just for simplicity. That and spell and rune augmentations and that sort of thing.
     
  3. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

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    True love's kiss and telepathy. Both so fun to play with. I get excited any time either of those shows up in something I'm reading.
     
    DragonRhapsody likes this.
  4. Amulets and talismans. I was fascinated with them as a kid and they still rule my magic systems whenever I first set out to create one. I often leave them out in the end but I always start by making amulets.

    And any magic tied to nature/animals. I'm a sucker for familiars.
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Transformations. When a person turns into a creature or animal or demon or something, and maybe it's against their will, or maybe they're powering up of their own accord, but I think it's awesome. It really raises the stakes for me. "It's a person under that." Gets me every time.

    ^^ I'll give a shout out to true love's kiss. Never mind the hopeless romance of it, you can tell some incredible stories based on magic that affects the way two people relate to each other. In a related vein, there's an anime where two people who don't really like each other are told that their child will save the world. There are a lot of fun stories to be had with premises like these. I think some people might discount them too quickly.
     
    C. R. Rowenson and Firefly like this.
  6. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Channeling force lines or from magical sources. Usually, combined with innate use (not incantations, spell books, or rituals, in other words.)

    I'll also add a vote for telepathy. Very useful, and it's nice reading conversations between characters who are not standing in the same space, heh.
     
  7. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I tend to read and write more folkloric or magical realist stories, than fantasy stories. As such, I like my magic to just exist, without having to comply to any rules. A character jumps into a pond and swims away as a trout? Cool. As long as it's tonally consistent, I'm happy.
     
  8. Jun Peng

    Jun Peng Dreamer

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    I tend to really like the concept of magic being attached to forgotten or elder lore. I can't escape this concept in my writing.
     
  9. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    I'd also like to add in the spell circle and other drawing style spell magic. Which probably follows with ritual magic. And I'm slightly on board with True Love's Kiss.
     
  10. C. R. Rowenson

    C. R. Rowenson Scribe

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    Does this carry over to concepts of thaumaturgy? Make something happen on a small scale, push the energy through a connection, and make it happen on a large scale. Or do you mean something else by this?
     
  11. C. R. Rowenson

    C. R. Rowenson Scribe

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    Really? I never would have guessed those. That's awesome :)
    Have you read The Farseer saga by Robin Hobb? I think that might be right up your alley
     
  12. C. R. Rowenson

    C. R. Rowenson Scribe

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    I bet you loved Animorphs growing up, huh? ;)
     
  13. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Archmage

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    Possibly. Getting into the full study of magic and all, even for world building is not one of my stronger points. When it starts getting too complicated my mind tends to seize up. And if they add math to magic, it breaks down completely. I think I get the basic concepts but to convoy them in a comprehensible manner, not so much.
     
  14. Firefly

    Firefly Troubadour

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    I've been meaning to check out her stuff for forever but I always forget... Another reason to get on that!
     
  15. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    The Farseer trilogy is a great example of telepathy used to enrich the story, IMO. Loved the first trilogy most.
     
  16. Rodrigo

    Rodrigo New Member

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    I don`t think this is cliche but I love the idea of magic been directly related to somebody`s energy life. The more powerful the magic the more dangerous it is on the body
     
    C. R. Rowenson likes this.
  17. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

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    Commanding spirits and/or demons to do ones bidding. It seems like such a straightforward and sensible way to get things done, with no nebulous 'forces' or other mystical jargon/gobbledy-goop to get in the way. And demons can be interesting characters in their own right. I've been able to nestle this approach inside my larger magical system, which is based on working with a multiverse concept.
     
    C. R. Rowenson likes this.
  18. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Magic that is unreliable. It feels more real. If it the magician knows that a spell is always going to work then it is too close to technology for my liking.
    I like it when the magic has a little bit of unrepeatability and the magician hopes it is going to work and do what they want...
     
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  19. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Sage

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    An empirical knowledge of magic rather than actually knowing how it works has generally seemed the way to go for me. Of course, I know how it works even if my wizards don't.
     
  20. Futhark

    Futhark Sage

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    It’s runes for me. I read The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman when I was young, and the character Haplo was covered in runes. This has always stuck with me. The anime Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto with all the seals and signs influences me a lot. And of course, a lot of the old mythology I used to read, the Celtic, Norse, and Egyptian cultures, has shaped what I like.

    Magic equates to knowledge for me. A good example is the tv series of Constantine with Matt Ryan. While not the smoothest series, I greatly enjoyed the character. Knowledge, tools, and a little talent is what does it for me.
     
    C. R. Rowenson likes this.
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