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

Talk about the framework of your magic system

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Steerpike, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    Magic in my current story takes on two forms:

    1. Ritual magic, as seen in a lot of real world religions. One of the protagonists uses this extensively, though with limited effectiveness and control.
    2. A kind of technomancy, based on a combination of certain powders and chemicals within small clockwork objects. This is the primary mode of magic explored.
  2. Son of John

    Son of John Acolyte

    In the book I am beginning to write, magic will be used only by the gifted and the strong willed (someone used an athlete analogy that I liked :) ). It will take extensive training of the mind, and will tire a person out when cast. I haven't yet handled the details yet such as the types of magic I will have in it. But spells will be cast by drawing from an energy throughout the world. The energy is kind of like dark matter in the real world, we know it's there but we don't how or why it is.
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    In my WIP I figure that among humans aproximately one in twenty five will be able to use magic to some extent. This way roughly one kid per school class will be proficient with magic, meaning that most people will be familiar with at least one magic wielder.
  4. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    I've never used the term "magic" for it, but in my current story, all of the weird stuff can be traced to either excessive unreality (physics breaking down more than it does in our world) or minimal unreality (physics breaking down less than it does in our world.) Of the known worlds, Earth is the most real that isn't inhabited by anything big, tentacley and hungry, and as such, it has more reliable physics and more advanced technology than any of the worlds that make up Hell--all we lack is a unified field theory. On the other hand, since Hell is kept together in large part by people's capacity to think it together, it sees stronger results from mental powers (like demons' Contracts.)

    In other words, my "magic" is very pseudoscientific, being directly integrated with (my attempted representation of) real-world physics.
  5. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

    I have several different kinds of magic in my world, though I don't have a scientific reason for any of them. Blood magic comes from drinking blood, soul magic from consuming souls. Elementals have to join their souls to an elemental demon (a faelo), while shamans/druids call on ancient spirits (a form of soul magic, but doesn't require the soul to be consumed). There's conjourers or summoners and a few others.

    As far as rules, I've kept them light. I tried for a long while to come up with something unique that was rules heavy, like Mistborn, but in the end it just became too much of a hassle and was taking away from my writing. My main character doesn't use magic himself, nor was it a major plot point, so I just left it kind of ambigious even if it does have limitations. Magic, to me, is meant to be cool. Putting too many rules and laws on it subtracts from that in my opinion.
  6. vidcom

    vidcom Acolyte

    Magic will tire you out, and you when try a tier for the first time, you will be on your knees in exhaustion in my system, but unlike breathing, it won't kill you. Outdoing yourself can push you to the verge of death, but it can't kill you
  7. vidcom

    vidcom Acolyte

    Magic will tire you out, and you when try a tier for the first time, you will be on your knees in exhaustion in my system, but unlike breathing, it won't kill you. Outdoing yourself can push you to the verge of death, but it can't kill you
  8. ScipioSmith

    ScipioSmith Sage

    1. No, magic is more metaphysical. The closest thing to scientific is that Elemental magic is passed down through bloodlines, but that's purely because it represents natural talent in the trifecta of talent, educationa and good character.

    2. It depends, leaning towards rules light. Sorcery has the most rules, and is the most limited in terms of Spell A does X, but the most basic rule of magic is that magic cannot be used for selfish purposes. Powers used to save others cannot be used to save oneself.
  9. Astner

    Astner Guest

    1. Magic itself originates in the supernatural, think of it as an illogical superspace of the natural. However, the influence it has on the natural world is limited (or at the very least ordered) to a paralogical system.

    2. It's definitely rule heavy, however, there are random elements (that can be controlled) that can produce undesired effects. While the wizard sees this as a source of power -- to spark flames and summon lightning -- that should be treated with respect, the mage sees it as computer code and applies to for more abstract concepts related to space-time and fundamental forces.
  10. MystiqueRain

    MystiqueRain Troubadour

    1) I don't have a pseudo-scientific explanation for magic in my world. In fact, the magic in my world is such a common thing that the people who can't use elemental magic are considered outcasts and are shunned by society. Even how magic is passed down isn't necessarily hereditary, though it can influence what a person's element is. People use magic for everyday tasks, which has prevented the country from being industrialized because there simply isn't a need for technology. The people in my world don't really even know where it comes from, but the most accepted theory is that everyone has the essence of all elements in their being, and a preference is determined at a young age. Spells are used by combining knowledge of how each element works, and a skill only available to a select few who have such experience and training. However, this only applies to the main five elements: water, wind, fire, earth, and light. The rules for the element of darkness are quite different.

    2) Rules-light in my opinion. Using elemental magic is like exercising. The longer you use it, the more tiring you get. The better you are, the better your magical stamina. Elementalists are rated depending on their skills and experience. Only nobles have special attributes to their elemental power, which is why they are nobles in the first place. Magic can also be influenced by emotion; it is a basic part of a person, much like thinking and seeing are. Each element has its pre-set pros and cons and some are better suited to fighting. Otherwise you can do whatever the heck you want with it, just know that if a fire elementalist burns down a town, there will always be a water elementalist to fight back or save the town.
  11. I guess it depends on what you mean by pseudo scientific, but I have two major projects that both go into detail of what magic is.

    Project 1: This story has two universes, our own being one, and magic is a force that cycles between them in intervalls of maybe ten millennia. When magic starts to vane in one universe, it also starts kind of a golden age in the other, and mighty civilizations rise and fall as magic come and go. When the story starts, out universe is on its way into a new magic age, meaning more and more magicians are born. Meanwhile, magic in the other world is slowly dying, and with it their culture that has grown too dependant on it.

    Magic in this story is primarily elemental in nature, but basic elemental magic can be combined into more advanced forms. I wanted it to have a classic kind of feeling with mages being able to do a little bit of everything. (While not actually being able to do anything.) It uses spoken spells, gestures (or mudras), seals/symbols, tools and alchemical processes, though all of those are mostly just ways to make magic easier to handle, and the more skilled the mage is the less complicated spellcasting becomes.

    Project 2: This story involves a full multiverse, and the idea is that magic simply isn't evenly spread between the universes. So, some universes will have more magic than others, and some worlds will also have more magically attuned populations than others. It's set in a world with an unusually high concentration of magicians, who use their magic to break down dimensional barriers and summon people from other worlds.

    Straight magic in this setting (there are more complicated variants) mostly takes the form of various psychic powers - telepathy, telekinesis, and so on. It's mostly a psychosomatic disceplin that requires training to maintain.

    Generally rule heavy. I like to have a clear idea of what magic can and can't do because that lets me explore different styles, plus there are story requirements. The first project involved a school for magic users, which pretty much requires magic to be something that can be studied and understood. In the other project, the concept itself restricted how versatile magicians can be.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  12. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

    My magic comes from the original universe. It's the Fifth Element, what Plato and Aristotle called aether. In the original universe it floats around freely and everywhere (there are no planets or cosmic whatevers, only many dimensions and this 5th element (mana in popular words, or 'arche'). Hightly evoluted beings live there and they created all other universes as a hobby. Some of these universes have bits of mana and here magic is possible.

    Arche is the stuff of Creation. With it, the Universes are made and it gives Gods and men the power to do their will. Each according to their natural inclinations and strength. In our own universe there isn't any arche, in the world of the Scarfar it works through a single focus (the Kalmanir standing stone) and in the world of Rhidauna it's as common as water, only invisible.

    It has rules, like I said: each according to his natural inclinations and his strength. It's like having green thumbs, or what we Dutch call 'a carpenter's eye'.
    Social ones: without magic most of the higher professions would be closed to you. You couldn't become a healer, a priest, a mastersmith or a rich merchant without at least some vestiges of magic. You could become a bureaucrat, a general, a duke or a king, though :)

    Physical ones: mana depends on your magical strength. Who overdoes it, will be punished by exhausion and coma. Mana is available as pills, powders or tonics, but it's addictive like heroin and just as bad for your health. Only to be used in emergencies.

    You can learn magic acts through scrolls, formula's and such, because these show you how that what you wish to do, works. If you want to cast a fireball, you have to learn the properties of a fireball first and how to make it burn. These things are summarized in spells (mnemonics). So learning the spell prints the whole principle of the fireball in your head.

    Officially, a mana-user can use only the spells of his/her own Order. A fire mage can't do water tricks, a beastmaster can't mindread etc. This isn't actually true. In the old days there were great generalists who studied all schools of magic, but nowadays that's actively discouraged.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  13. FatCat

    FatCat Maester

    I'm working on a rough idea of a magic system currently and so far I've divided it into two parts: learned magic and creative magic. Learned magic has constrained rules and regulations imposed on it and is largely based on a scientific model, i.e. magic is not a power from the human body but a result of constructed platforms in many shapes and forms mixing certain material/herbs/script in precise patterns/mixtures.
    Creative magic, however, is based solely on the individuals imagination, and as such is limited only by how far the magic user can twist his/her reality, however there is only so much they can do, as the human mind needs reality to function properly. In the story I'm writing people have the subconscious ability to create magic, however they need the logic and order of learned magic to properly channel it. Those who delve into the deep ends of creative magic find themselves, for the lack of a better term, insane, as the more powerful they become, the more they lose grasp of the world around them, ultimately destroying themselves in the process.

Share This Page