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Need Help with Magic System

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Wanara009, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

    Well, I'm relatively new at world building so problem like this is bound to happen...

    Well, I need comments on my (very) underdeveloped magic system. Because my world project has an overall "Magic vs. Technology" theme to it, I want to make magic and technology as balanced as possible. When I finished plotting the Technology side, I realized I made it hard for myself since the most advanced Technology-based nation have bioengineering, miniaturized fission reactor powering walking tanks, Geothermal and nuclear power plant, electric jet with output equal to real-life traditional jet engines, and rail-gun for artillery. The other two major Technology nation have considerably lower technology, but they still have walking tanks and aircraft (mostly aerostatic and rotorcraft since none of the Technology nations ever developed fixed-wing aircraft).

    So first of all, I defined Magic as the manipulation of preexisting energy and the properties of matter to solve problem.

    I further divide magic into Energy Magic (manipulation/conversion of preexisting energy. For example: creating a lightning bolt by converting ambient heat into electricity, moving things by converting ambient heat into directional kinetic energy) and Matter Magic (temporarily imposing a property of an item to another matter. For example: making air solid by imposing the hardness of iron, making leaf cut by imposing the sharpness of a sword).

    Energy Magic is limited to the mage scope of focus (that is, the better he/she is at multitasking, the better her/his Energy Magic will be). Matter magic is limited by range of ~15-20 metres and the caster must have direct contact to the items with the properties he want to impose on the target object (for example: If a mage want to impose the hardness of iron on to wooded sword, he must be within range with the wooden sword and have direct physical contact with the iron). A mage must also understand the nature of the energy and substance they are manipulating in order to refine their skill at it. (i.e.: knowing more about the properties of iron makes you better at using it, knowing more about the how electricity behave makes you better at generating it, etc)

    While theoretically a mage can perform every spell there is, there is the matter of proficiency dictated by the mage's upbringing, talent, and personality. For example, a mage raised in a desert wouldn't be able to use water-based magic well but easily master sand and glass.

    Magic exist due to a substance called Aether (placeholder name), which is distributed along the tectonic lines (so you'll find more aether around volcanoes) and mix with air and water. Every living thing have this in their body, which is why they are immune to magic (i.e.: you can't liquify a living person by imposing the liquidity of water on them). In its purest form, it is a wispy blue liquid that causes necrosis upon contact with skin. When exposed to heavy metalloid (germanium or tellurium) seed, aether crystallize into Magicite. Magicite is inert if left alone, but pieces of it decay as soon as it is separated from the 'seed' crystal unless processed properly. As it decay, Magicite release mana and heat . Magicite is used as both material to make an Elemental Circuit and its fuel. When Aether is metabolized, it produces mana and Ethera. Ethera is re-energized back into Aether by absorbing other forms of energies (think of it like the natural water or carbon cycle).

    A Mage is an individual that took in to a certain amount of Aether within a few hour of their birth, usually by breathing in the aether in the air (as such, people in Mage Bane regions tend to be Immagus because they usually took in their first Aether from breast milk, which has very little of it). This exposure give mages the nescessary metabolic pathway to process aether and produces mana (placeholder name). Mana is an exotic form of energy that allow mage to bypass the Mundane Bindings of matter and energy and free it for the mage to manipulate with his mind. This process convert mana into heat, which is why a mage can overheat and lose consciousness from overusing magic.

    Magnetism repels free-floating aether in the air and interferes with its metabolism in the body. As such, a mage cannot use magic in regions with high concentration of natural magnets and the air in these region have very little Aether.

    Elemental Circuit is the base of any magical construct. It is made by infusing high concentration aether (in either its liquid form or magicite) into a material, which is then shaped appropriately. Each Elemental Circuit is attuned to perform only 1 task so a construct usually employ multiple circuits. (For Example: a flying carpet has at least 3 circuits: one to convert chemical energy in the fuel into other form of useable energy, one to generate thrust forward, and one to lift it up).

    So, any thought?

    Thanks in Advance

    EDIT: On Matter Magic, there's a law called Law of Inverse Solidity's Resistance. This means imposing properties on solid get progressively harder with the target's hardness (For example, it is almost impossible to impose any other properties on diamond) but the reverse is true as well (i.e.: It is extremely easy to impose solidity on water or air).
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Two thoughts:

    1) Mental Magic - to work magic, one must have the mind (talent) for it. Those without said talent are highly vulnerable to it. Hence, your high tech soldiers fall easy victim to illusions and magically induced delusions - thinking they've recieved messages they haven't, for example, or mistaking a mage for an animal because of illusions.

    2) Is magic and technology compatable? For example, could a relatively minor spell, strictly as a side effect, cause sophisticated computer programs to crash and reboot? Likewise, could a simple radio transmission screw up a spell?

    Thing is, you seem to be focusing over much on making magic a sort of tit for tat match for technology, instead of realizing they are very different.
    S.T. Ockenner and Wanara009 like this.
  3. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

    Thanks, I'll add in 1) into the rules.

    For 2), Somewhat. Radio wave have no effect but the electromagnetic field created when electricity flow through metal and the magnets widely used by the Technology side inhibit Mana production. On the other side, mage often drain energy needed for their magic from the nearest energy source. A careless, inexperienced mage usually do the energy drain haphazardly, which often interfere with machines (for example: computer lose its electricity and shuts down, diesel is drained from its chemical energy and become useless, etc)

    However, most of the Technology nations haven't reached a stage where electricity is widely used (either steam of diesel). Wherever a nation have Technology or Magic base is due to convenience or ideologies (For example: One of nations relies on technology because they occupy a Mage-Bane region while the other become that way because its founders have Anti-Magic philosophies due to various reason.)
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Your magic system seems extremely mechanistic in nature, so I'd assume that magic of the natural orders, healing, shapeshifting, controlling animals and plants, boosting physical strength etc, are out?

    Cheers, Greg.
  5. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

    Well, you could do some of it with enough creativity. While you can't perform Matter Magic s from a living being, you can put energy into them since the extra energy isn't a part of of them to begin with. For example, a mage can drain ambient heat and convert them into kinetic energy for a punch.

    But yeah, my magic system is extremely mechanistic. It's a problem I caused myself because I tried to impose math on both side :p
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.

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