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Which Magic system best suits my World?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Dare Pelletier, Dec 30, 2021.

  1. Dare Pelletier

    Dare Pelletier New Member

    My world is a high fantasy secondary world inspired by the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. The world has the technology of this time period and also will have a magic system which coexists with the technology. I have several ideas for my magic system, but can’t decide which one to use. I want one that compliments and blends well with the technology I mentioned before. I tried to make them as unique as possible, because I like to have a unique magic system that stands out.

    Option A - Paper Based Magic system. I have several ideas for this one, and I would probably lump them together if I used this option, but basically, my idea is that rather than imbuing writing with magic power the paper itself would have power. Maybe the pulp or something is magic. Then from there I went with an idea that maybe different things you do to the paper have different effects. For instance, maybe the paper does something magical when it’s burned, or something when it’s soaked in water, or folded. I also went with the idea that origami could be magic, or maybe the folded things come to life. I have never seen a magic system that uses actual paper rather than writing as magic, so this one is cool for me because it’s more or less original.

    Option B - A healing/curing magic system. This idea is less original than the last one, but I still like this idea. The idea is that if you are born under a certain constellation or a star, you are blessed with a healing power. You can receive training from a master as an apprentice and learn to heal, mend and cure wounds, illnesses and diseases. This power can be passed on to someone else. Some people have learned to use their power to physically harm or even kill people. One of the costs of using this power is that the more you heal, the more sick or easily wounded you will be in your later life. This also means that many people who heal are older, because they don’t care as much about the injuries of sickness that come with the power because it won’t affect their lifespan. This affect works in the opposite way as someone who hurts people. The more you hurt the healthier you will be as an older person. This is why many people who hurt are younger.

    Option C - a magic system that works in a photosynthesis type way, but instead of light it’s colour. Different colours power different magic. I don’t have much ideas beyond that for this one, but it’s still interesting. My one problem with this one is it might be harder to write. But something I do like about it is that I haven’t seen it done often, only once or twice.

    Those are a few of my ideas. Which one do you like the most? Which one would best blend with and compliment a world based on the Roaring Twenties?
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
  2. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    I think option A has the greatest potential to affect such a setting and be affected by it. I can imagine someone rolling out magical paper like newspaper out of a printing press or having paper money made out of magical paper with the idea that the value of the money would be backed by the power of the paper it's printed on.
    Chasejxyz likes this.
  3. Lynea

    Lynea Sage

    Hmm, you do pose a tough question. My question is: why do you feel the need to choose between three different systems? Maybe your system could be one giant system with many facets like paper, color, and healing. There are plenty of fantasy worlds that have different types of mages, like pyromancers and necromancers to name a couple. You don't have to make it so limited unless, of course, that's what your story design is.
  4. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

    Born under in what sense?

    Everyone is born under all the constellations and stars. Unless you mean they have to be literally visible in the sky, in which case to be born under a constellation or star, you would have to be born at night and at a time of year when that constellation or star is up at night.

    In the old fashioned sense (astrology), there's no such thing as being born under a certain constellation. Under an astrological sign, yes, but signs and constellations are not the same thing. And then, what it means to be born under a certain astrological sign has many variations. In modern times, saying you're born under a sign typically means that's your sun sign, but older methods give more weight to rising sign (the sign on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth), which, unless you were born around sunrise, is different from sun sign. Still other methods give the most weight to the moon, which is also in a different sign from the sun unless it's a new moon.

    Born under a certain star does have astrological significance, but there are many stars (fixed stars) that can count for that, and what it means to be born under one varies so much that in reality, everyone is born under a few of them. If a fixed star is on the horizon or at the midheaven (where the sun is at high noon), you are born under that star. If a planet is in conjunction with it (including the sun or the moon), that also counts.

    The 1920s and 30s were a time of revived public interest in astrology, so including astrological factors in your magic system would fit well.
  5. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

    Why not all of these?

    They could all exist but not necessarily be practiced by the same people. Maybe there are paper magicians and light magicians and healing (or harming) magicians. Maybe the different kinds of magicians are rivals. Maybe they're allies. Maybe they're some of both.
  6. Mothyards

    Mothyards Dreamer

    People have already brought up opinions and thoughts on the magic itself so I’m going to take a different route. I think the question you should be asking yourself should be, “which magic system supports or upholds the story the most?” Of course a magic system doesn’t inherently have to support the story in any way and can simply be added into the world, but it can also enhance it or parts of the story. To use an example, this isn’t to much of a spoiler but in just in case I’m going to put a warning here, in Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker, the magic system uses an aspect called breath. Everyone is born with one and can give their one away to another person. In the same magic system, occasionally a person can come back from the dead and needs to gather breath at least once a week to keep living, however they can give up all their breath at once to heal someone and are seen as gods by one of the cultures in the story for it. So the magic system lends to this drama, giving a fun flavor to the idea of, “should you give up your own life to save others?”
  7. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Hmm...Roaring 20's and Great Depression.

    Mediums were big, as was hypnotism, Ritual magic was a serious thing. Voodoo was also a thing. Rhine was studying ESP and telekinesis. Faith healing was big on the evangelical preacher circuit.

    So....taken together, magic that affected the mind, enabled contact with the dead, and whisked about small objects would seem to fit the bill. Magical healing would be there, but more problematic - lots of swindlers. And spellcasters of all stripes would be making use of ritual magic.
  8. Electric Bone Flute

    Electric Bone Flute Troubadour

    Of the three, the paper one is the most thematic. You said it was Depression inspired? Well what us more thematic than a time when money supply (and the paper the represented it) was low? The light thing can also be emblematic if you want to emphasize industrialization and smog.
    Solusandra likes this.
  9. Solusandra

    Solusandra Minstrel

    This one would be my vote. I can't really see myself being interested in the other two outside of a superhero setting. Though I admit, I'd be more enthusiastic with the writing being the magic rather than the paper itself. Paper is an easy a resource to farm and that make a technical setting, letalone one in the 1920's hard to justify. Magic being in the writing otoh, and the energy being difficult to raise makes it much easier to justify the balance.
  10. Lodestone

    Lodestone Acolyte

    First, I love the early 20th century setting. Second, I agree, the Paper Magic has the closest thematic feel. As the industrial system rises and newspapers, magazines, tabloids, and eventually comic books proliferate, the demand for sources of paper grows and grows. Is there a natural conflict between papermage traditions and the modern world’s need for their funny papers? Which is older, paper magic or printmaking? Are certain trees more magical than others? Or maybe the tree isn’t intrinsically magic, but the ritual of transforming it into paper imbues the supernatural energy.

    I think there’s a lot of potential in the paper magic.
    Rosemary Tea likes this.

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