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What are the Consequences of using Magic in your World?

I have one world where the consequences of using magic is environmental--- sort of like Climate change. The more its used the faster the end of the world comes... but try to stop people from using it! heh.

since the cost can be foisted off on a future people... there is a lot of denial
 
It mostly just makes one tired if channeled correctly. If you mess up a spell it the energy you were manipulating to do it backfires and can hurt or kill you, which is why most magic users use some sort of focus like a staff, wand, orb, talisman, etc, then it's the object that gets damaged or destroyed. Some kinds of magic require raw materials that are often consumed by the casting. Spirit Pacts and Divine Magic have varying requirements and costs depending on the particular god or Spirit. The "Ways of Old" that the antagonist uses requires many sacrifices and often rather specific rituals, like a divination ritual that uses spines, severed heads and entrails, but it only works if the "ingredients" were harvested the right way or belonged to the right kind of person, etc. The consequences of which are obviously mostly social, and moral presumably if someone more scrupulous were to attempt its use.
 
The price of magic is a corrosive illness, much like radiation sickness. It hastens your demise, but is capable of immense feats of creation and destruction. Most users of magic also have sickly red or yellow eyes, and as their power grows their bodies fail them. They typically die before their thirties from organ failure.

On the plus side, magic’s dying out, so future generations don’t need to worry too much.
 
The price of magic in my current work is a certain wearing down on the soul. This can manifest itself in many ways (including physical deformities), but the most common is madness. Most mages don't actually have an understanding of where their magic comes from (though they do have theories), and as such, don't usually have the tools know how to prevent the negative effects. Most will join a magic order, or a religious one that practices magic. The mages that don't usually fall through the cracks, only to get picked up by less than reputable groups.
 
The price of magic in my current work is a certain wearing down on the soul. This can manifest itself in many ways (including physical deformities), but the most common is madness. Most mages don't actually have an understanding of where their magic comes from (though they do have theories), and as such, don't usually have the tools know how to prevent the negative effects. Most will join a magic order, or a religious one that practices magic. The mages that don't usually fall through the cracks, only to get picked up by less than reputable groups.

I like this idea of mages joining religious orders. Most stories I've seen have magic and religion being opposed to each other, but, just as religion and science don't need to be opposed to each other (indeed, religion can be motivating factor behind science, as a way of gaining a greater understanding of how the divine constructed reality,) so, too, can religion and magic go together in a story. In my own setting, certain religious orders will focus on training their followers in certain forms of magic, such as Paladins being trained in various defensive types of magic so they can do a better job protecting people from the agents of darkness. It's more about how magic is used than the magic itself that can put it in opposition to certain religions.
 
I like this idea of mages joining religious orders. Most stories I've seen have magic and religion being opposed to each other, but, just as religion and science don't need to be opposed to each other (indeed, religion can be motivating factor behind science, as a way of gaining a greater understanding of how the divine constructed reality,) so, too, can religion and magic go together in a story. In my own setting, certain religious orders will focus on training their followers in certain forms of magic, such as Paladins being trained in various defensive types of magic so they can do a better job protecting people from the agents of darkness. It's more about how magic is used than the magic itself that can put it in opposition to certain religions.
I definitely share the sentiment of coexistence between magic and religion. After all, if a priest were to conduct a magical feat, would it not be considered the will of god, or a miracle? Granted, in my story the major religious groups don't even know about the truth of the universe or the source of magic (the true source of magic is from some Lovecraftian beings that aren't widely known or acknowledged in the world). I wanted to explore, however, how religion could help hold back some of the negative effects of magic use. It takes a lot of mental practice and discipline, which a monastic lifestyle could certainly provide. On the note of paladins, I have one religious order that has magic-wielding war priests who operate as sellswords, which has been a lot of fun to explore.
 
One idea I'm toying around with is combining something akin to Benedictine monks and nuns with Eastern martial arts. The whole idea of using chi has been modified into a variation of Psionics, which uses Psi Energy rather than chi. I have at least one religious order where both monks and nuns are trained in a style of martial arts that focuses on disabling and subduing opponents without causing them serious injury or killing them. Where the magic comes in is their use of Psionics to temporarily block the connections between the brain and the limbs, paralyzing them. It's like the whole pressure point thing you see in some martial arts movies. Anyway, the reason I decided to pursue this idea is because I thought it would be fun to not only blend eastern and western elements but also subvert the expectations of Benedictine-style monks and nuns by having them actually be martial arts masters. Their religion is focused on mercy, forgiveness, and redemption, so they want to avoid killing or maiming opponents as much as possible, but they also want to protect the innocent from those who would do them harm. Their Psionic-enhanced form of martial arts is how they find a balance between those two objectives. They protect the innocent but also show mercy to those who would hurt them through use of martial discipline and Psionic Magic.
 
One idea I'm toying around with is combining something akin to Benedictine monks and nuns with Eastern martial arts. The whole idea of using chi has been modified into a variation of Psionics, which uses Psi Energy rather than chi. I have at least one religious order where both monks and nuns are trained in a style of martial arts that focuses on disabling and subduing opponents without causing them serious injury or killing them. Where the magic comes in is their use of Psionics to temporarily block the connections between the brain and the limbs, paralyzing them. It's like the whole pressure point thing you see in some martial arts movies. Anyway, the reason I decided to pursue this idea is because I thought it would be fun to not only blend eastern and western elements but also subvert the expectations of Benedictine-style monks and nuns by having them actually be martial arts masters. Their religion is focused on mercy, forgiveness, and redemption, so they want to avoid killing or maiming opponents as much as possible, but they also want to protect the innocent from those who would do them harm. Their Psionic-enhanced form of martial arts is how they find a balance between those two objectives. They protect the innocent but also show mercy to those who would hurt them through use of martial discipline and Psionic Magic.
I like this idea. I would also be interested in seeing what a heretical order of psionic monks would look like in opposition to the regular psionic monks. Considering there's always breakaway groups in religions, I could definitely see this being a possibility.
 

JunkMonger122

Troubadour
In the Whiterose Mythos Magic requires fuel. This fuel is called Imaginary Energy and the different types of Imaginary Energy determines what type of spells your able to cast. There's really no downside to using Imaginary Energy, it's produced naturally in a person's Soul. The only real cost is that bigger, more powerful spells require more Imaginary Energy and better control over Imaginary Energy to cast. It's very similar to Chakra from Naruto. Like in Naruto there are powerful "endgame" spells that can significantly alter the homeostasis of individual planets or sometimes even entire galaxies. These forbidden magics are called Black Calamities and their use is absolutely forbidden. In some worlds even so much as learning or teaching a Black Calamity is worth the death penalty.
 
This thread is making me take a harder look at the costs of magic. I see three kinds of costs identified here.

1. Cost of learning. This could be anything from literal cost of buying a spellbook to time spent at Worthogs school to selling one's soul.
2. Cost of operation. I think this is where the OP was. The cost of casting a particular spell. Fatigue, injury (physical or spiritual), etc.
3. Social cost. Per Patrick-Leigh, casting a fireball on the battlefield in service of the king is one thing. Quite another when cast during a bank robbery. IOW, there might be criminal cost but also just social approbation--a particular magic might be legal but still be unrespectable.

All three open up interesting possibilities. 'Sfunny. When I wrote that, I realized that for authors "possibilities" usually means constraints. Ours is a curious trade.
Yes, I think what this thread is really about is the costs of doing magic, not punishment, which is how the OP worded the question in their first post.

In mine, all of those kinds of costs exist, but they're usually not extreme. The greatest costs, and the only ones that are completely inevitable, come at the learning stage. A full mage doesn't get fatigued or injured by doing magic unless they attempt a particularly dangerous kind and/or fail to take appropriate safety precautions. A new apprentice will experience some fatigue, and greater susceptibility to illness, when their magical abilities are starting to appear. For the first year or two, they'll have days when they're too tired to get out of bed, usually right after a new surge in their magic, and they'll get a cold more often than usual. In the long run, it doesn't harm them, it's just some discomfort that must be endured in the adjustment process. Once they've adapted to having magic run through them all the time, it doesn't debilitate them. If anything, having made that adaptation improves their health. Full mages rarely get sick, and, barring a magical accident, they tend to live into their eighties or nineties and remain healthy til the end.

Apprentices also, at first, can quickly lose control over their own magic if they raise more of it than they're ready for, and due to their inexperience, they're at great risk of getting in over their heads. That can create anything from a Sorcerer's Apprentice sort of situation--out of control but no irreparable harm done--to serious injury, usually to the apprentice.

For that reason, every apprentice's teacher supervises them very closely, forbids them to use any magic without direct supervision and explicit permission (this restriction gets eased somewhat in the later years, when the apprentice has gained some experience and better judgment and can better control their own magic) and disciplines them if they try it anyway. Apprentices have to accept that level of supervision and discipline as a condition of being trained, and they have to work harder, overall, than an apprentice in an ordinary trade would, because they have so much more to learn. In this world, young people typically get apprenticed, so there's nothing unusual about that, but a mage's apprentice has a more challenging time of it. More rewarding, ultimately, but the reward must be earned.

Social cost is an interesting one to consider. Certainly, magic can be misused, and if it is, that's when the problems occur. Not only can misused magic cause harm, the mages' guild has strict rules governing that and will punish any mage who breaks them. Magic used appropriately is no problem at all, and generally, mages have a lot of respect from the people around them, although there are also some circles where a negative view of them prevails. This is mostly so in the scholars' community (mages and scholars have some deep seated rivalries) and in villages without a resident mage. People who know mages and don't have rivalries with them are more likely to see them in a positive light, especially if the mage they know is a nice person.

And then there is the simple fact that using magic is only possible for those who've undergone the training to do so, and they can only get that training by committing their whole lives to the magery. It's not something that can be dabbled in. If you do it, it's your profession, and your life.
 
TLDR: They draw on the nanobots that infect every living thing, and if overused will consume the hosts life force, at which point they return from the dead as a 'zombie'.

The world that I mostly use is set in the far, far future after a massive apocalypse. The World That Was exists mostly in myth, but possessed tech well beyond that of our real world. They had managed to settle other planets, and even made rudimentary exploration of the multiverse. Eventually, a bioengineered virus arose that threatened the entire civilization; to combat it, they utilized nano-robots that were powered by the beings they inhabited and gene editing to attempt to cure the virus.

This failed, catastrophically. The nanobots attached to the plague they were meant to destroy, and used it to spread through out the civilization. They cured the virus, but became something worse. The majority of the population was simply drained, the nanobots running rampant in their system and over populating it until they died; these rearose as 'zombies', as the nanobots took over the body and attempted to spread to other living hosts. Mutation ran rampant as the nanobots infected different species and beings, and changed in different ways. 'Vampires' arose that allowed their host to consume the energy of other beings to power their nanos, rather than their own; 'Daemons' are airborne nanos that can infect and control hosts; 'werewolves' are a fusion of nanobot and canine that could change its shape.

Civilization collapsed, but eventually the survivors became symbiotes to a more passive form of nanobot, and some learned to control them. These individuals became known as mages, sorcerors, and other names. Some of the mutations survived and started breeding true. Orcs and goblins are more feral demi-humans; the goblin ability to tinker and build is directly related to their latent nanos. Elves are just humans that were created to fill a rather unpleasant role in the pleasure farms; dwarves were made to withstand terraforming projects on hyper gravitic planets. The true nature of 'magic' isn't known in the current timeline outside of the rare academic who may know some small parcel of the truth.
 
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