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Tricky Magic System I'm Working Out.

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Christopher Herrin, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Christopher Herrin

    Christopher Herrin Dreamer

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    Hello, everyone!

    I've been developing a long series with almost all conflicts in the series coming from the magic system. This is a quick, and not really in-depth, description of the magic system so far.
    So, there are two types of people in this world: people who have two "souls", and people who have one "soul." These things inside people have been deemed souls since the people in the world, at this moment, have no other way to explain them. Anyway, the people who have two "souls" naturally can do magic, like being able to shoot sparks from their finger tips when their a baby. Those with only one "soul" do not have a natural affinity to do magic, though they can still learn it. There are three more differences between these two types of people. One: the second "soul" of the people who have two is worth about 15 or 16 of the "souls" of people who only have one, though the person could burn through their powerful "soul" and get to their other one, which would lead to the same fate as a person who only had one "soul" to begin with. Two: the second "soul" of the people who have two can regenerate their "soul" while the people with only one have to have some type of potion. Drinking this potion will make their "soul" regrow, and it will feel like bones growing, except within their contentiousness. Three: people who learned to do magic with only one "soul" can't die once they first use their "soul" to create magic. Since their "soul" can't regrow/heal itself, the potion they drink grows what could be called "scarred soul tissue." By constantly using magic, then replacing the missing part of their soul over and over again, becoming even more scarred, their minds start to fade, then eventually their body starts to fade, leaving behind a "ghost." How this world has grown to help with this problem, people with only one "soul" who are starting to fade are put in what's called "The Magic Room." In this room, the person starts to do magic until their "soul" runs out, and their body falls, neither dead or living; kind of zombie-like, not talking or responding to someone talking, although it can walk. The body is either given to the family to determine the fate, or is killed upon the declination of the family.
    For basic magic to work, such as projectile weapons, a person envisions what they wish to do in what's called "The Soul Cavern." This place is where the person's "soul" or "souls" reside. Once they have envisioned something like fire or lightning, they put the part of their "soul" that they want to fire out of into it. The "soul" absorbs whatever it is, then releases it through the person's body part that the "soul" had put into the thing.
    The main conflict of the series involves an old magic that is rediscovered. This magic was banned under the declaration that it was necromancy. The magic involves extracting the "soul" or "souls" from another and adding them to the power of one's own soul.

    This was kind of a rushed explanation, sorry. What do you think about it?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    It's certainly workable. I have something similar in an old project I'm only recently returning to. It's not the same, just similar in the way the most recent, ongoing application of magic involves depleting oneself, but one of my characters undergoes a transformation allowing him to draw from other things and people. So, similar.

    In something like this, a lot of the weight for the story will involve how you work your magic into your conflict, the plot, your individual character arcs, etc. In other words, what you have is A-OK as a base idea, but whether it is "good" or not will rest on the story you decide to tell and the way these factors involving magic play into that. So I can't say it's great until I see the rest of it, which means writing the story first and see what you get.
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It's creepy, and elaborate, with plenty to work with, like the "truth" about where this extra soul comes from, and whether this necromancy might be usable if you only extracted the second soul from someone, and how maybe it would be best for everyone if people had to give up their second souls, or at least those who abuse them... stuff like that would be twisty to play with.

    I've got a concern, although it's just a hunch of a problem and not based on much, but my concern would be that your system here might not juxtapose well with the typical kind of magic you're describing in your examples. Your system feels kind of "horror," but then your examples are like "projectiles" and "lightning." My gut is telling me that you'd do better to eschew some of the classic wizardry and really develop a world where the magic plays a little closer to the feel of your soul-system.
     
    C. R. Rowenson likes this.
  4. Christopher Herrin

    Christopher Herrin Dreamer

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    Well, the story starts off with two people who are people who have two "souls." By the end, they become each other's antagonists, although they want the same things, it's just that they go about achieving it in ways that contradict each other. What they both want is peace between, mainly, people with one "soul" and people with two "souls," along with other groups of people. People with one "soul" invented a magic that they have kept secret from people with two "souls" that enables them to cut off their source to their "soul." One of them goes on the pass similar to the one Martin Luther King Jr. went: spreading his message through non-violent acts. The other is the one that rediscovers that old magic, although he kind of already had his ideology from the beginning. The one who rediscovers the old magic discovers that by putting more souls into him, adding to his power, he is actually adding those people into his mind. His voice starts to change, "more than one thought is coming through that voice" is how I'm thinking of describing it. Slowly, throughout the series, he loses himself, even changing his name. He looks for peace through violence, killing them equally because "that will make themselves see each other as equals," as he puts it. I'm still working out his motive, though I think I'm nearly complete with it. I won't give away the ending though. :)
    Do you think it works?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
    FifthView likes this.
  5. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Yeah, that's a great idea! You have an awfully lot to work with here as you explore these two characters, their interactions and their individual arcs. I'd say go for it.
     
  6. Christopher Herrin

    Christopher Herrin Dreamer

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    There is actually a debate I made within the world about which soul is which. They have found a way to enter another's Soul Cavern and return. From what they observed in a two "soul" person (because the only way to observe a Soul Cavern is for one two "souled" person to enter another) is that there is a fuzzy, almost murky gray soul that roughly outlines a human, and then there's a crystal clear, silvery soul that perfectly outlines a human. Both sides think that the magic "soul" is an extra "soul" that has somehow found a way to randomly enter humans. People who think that the murky "soul" is the magic one think so because a magic "soul" is "unnatural," and a "deficiency" and it doesn't belong in the body, that's why it doesn't entirely look human, instead a very rough and crude outline of it. The people who believe that are typically people with only one "soul." People who think the clear "soul" is the magic one think so because magic is something higher than what is natural to humans, and from higher than their world, therefore it can perfectly replicate a human shape, making it even better than it is, whereas the other "soul" is natural to everything, therefore has flaws just as everything that is natural and on level with the world does.
    There are two reasons why only two "souled" people can view each other's Soul Cavern. One: a one "souled" person would burn their soul out to even enter a Soul Cavern. Two: the Soul Cavern takes in what it doesn't have that makes it stronger. So, when a two "souled" person tries to enter a one "souled" person's Soul cavern, both of the two "souled" person's souls are fused together and are absorbed by the one "souled" person's Soul Cavern, now making them a two "souled" person.
     
  7. Christopher Herrin

    Christopher Herrin Dreamer

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    Oh, I forgot to talk about the extraction. This old magic was found on accident, using a common magic that is still around. How people are arrested in this world is that a person with two "souls" extracts the soul of the person guilty, putting the soul into some type of container. The result of the criminal's body is similar to when someone has to burn out in the Magic Room. They just tap the body along into a cell, lock it, then open the container something I haven't figured out yet happens to make the soul re-enter the criminal's soul cavern. Now, how the old magic is found is that somebody heard about it and just tries to put the soul into their Soul Cavern. Once they do so, they don't feel anything and assume that that isn't how the magic is performed (by the way, if there are two "souls" in the person who is having an extracting done to them, those two souls come out as one and only split once they are put back into the Soul Cavern). So, he takes the "soul" back out of his Soul Cavern, then kills the person he took the soul from (another two "souled" person). The soul in his hand, since it has lost it's original soul cavern to die in, immediately jumps into the closest Soul Cavern, his, and melds with any other soul in there.

    Any suggestions on how you would improve this? I'm still working on it and now that there are definitely improvements to be made, so I would love a finger pointing in a right direction, or at least a good direction.
     
  8. Christopher Herrin

    Christopher Herrin Dreamer

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    Do you mind if I tell you the ending? I would really like an opinion on it, but in my group of writing friends it's pretty much taboo to even hint at your ending to others before you write the whole story.
     
  9. Christopher Herrin

    Christopher Herrin Dreamer

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    It takes about 3/4 of a magic "soul" to enter a Soul Cavern.
     
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