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Why wouldn't magical mutations be inheritable?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, May 17, 2020.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

    Individuals are born with mana, which accounts for their life force and has a hand in determining the strength of their spells. Mana level and composition is determined by a person's genes, which they inherit from a mix of their parents. There are three factors that decide magical power:

    1. Maximum reserve: This describes the level of reserves that a person contains. Individuals with extremely high mana reserves represent the strongest of witches, and can access the most powerful spells in mage craft. However, they have more difficulty in controlling and directing the flow of their mana. As a result, their spells take longer to perform. They also have a slow recharge rate, lengthening the time period between spells.

    2. Focus rate: This describes the level of control a person has over their mana flow. Individuals high in this category have small reserves of mana, and can be considered weaker than average. However, they have much more control, allowing them to be more precise and direct. While those with high reserves are battering rams, they are a scalpel. They also have slow recharge rates, leading to longer intervals between spells.

    3. Recharge rate: This is the category that most people fall into. They have average reserves of mana, as well as typical levels of control over it. They have a higher rate of recovery, allowing them to recharge their mana quicker than the other categories.
    Very rarely, a person is born with high stats in all three sections. These individuals have large power levels with excellent control over their mana, as well as quick recharge rates. These individuals are considered the diamond in the rough, and are the most powerful and formidable mages in the world. However, these traits only occur in that person, as they are not inheritable ? Why would this be the case?
  2. Vaporo

    Vaporo Inkling

    Magic is only inheritable if you say it is. What if instead magic power is obtained entirely at random and is essentially just a positive birth defect?
  3. Chuck

    Chuck Dreamer

    An answer from real world genetics would be because you inherit traits from both parents.

    For example, mom has a high maximum reserve and focus rate. Dad has a high recharge rate and focus rate. The parents pass on those genes to their child. The child grows up and passes on the gene for a high focus rate to their offspring, but the spouse passes on their low max reserve and recharge rate.

    That example is very simplified. The parents also have genes from both parents and display the dominate trait. They can pass on the recessive trait too. If dad got his high focus rate from grandma, but high recharge rate from grandpa, he could pass on the recessive traits. I attached a picture of eye color traits. Brown eyes are dominate, blue eyes are recessive. If both parents have the genes for both blue and brown eyes, their offspring will have a 25% chance of having all brown eye genes, and will be unable to pass on blue eye genes. Their offspring will have a 50% chance of having brown eyes, with the blue eye gene in their DNA that they could pass on, and a 25% chance of a child with blue eyes.

    If magic is a recessive trait, that will make it less likely that the offspring will have the overpowered mutation.

    Attached Files:

    Night Gardener likes this.
  4. Nethermoosen

    Nethermoosen Scribe

    I’m fairly certain even recessive genes can pop up often enough to be more than plausible. Beyond that, there is also the chance of mutation, deformation, defects caused by the environment.

    In a world of magic, perhaps Even some celestial events beyond the perception of mankind can cause a surge in those born with magic or the opposite.

    It could be something as absurd as the mother being bitten by a venomous snake and the mother, healing herself with magic, somehow drained the magic of the child or altered the gestation.

    Anything goes, really, if you can write it convincingly enough.
  5. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

    The magic power obtained could be due to events in nature such as rain, lightning, tides, moon phases, winds, tectonic shifts, animal migration, magnetic fields, season. Or don't explain why they have greater power, similar to the X-Men. Stan Lee created the X-Men because he didn't want to come up with a new way the characters obtained their powers (i.e. cosmic rays, government experiment, gamma rays, radioactive spider).
  6. It depends on how many genes are involved. If it's just one then even recessive genes are likely to occur frequently. If it's spread over 10 then it's less likely to randomly occur.

    One consequence of going the "gene" route, is that it tends to concentrate power in places and families. Simple real world example is hair and skin color. blond hair and blue eyes are both recessive genes, and yet there's whole groups in Europe where it's common. The same would go with magic. If at some point you run into a group where a lot of the recessive genes are floating around and they intermarry then that will become a population where there are a lot of strong magic users. And while genetics is a relatively young science, I would bet that people would start noticing that some traits are more common in some families and populations and you'd end up with rules and ideas about who you should marry and all that kind of thing.

    Just pick whatever system you like in terms of inheritance. If it's random, then it's just that. I've rarely wondered in a fantasy book about why something is the way it is, unless it's actually relevant to the plot. If it's random and the characters simply attribute it to something like "god did it" then I'll just move on. If it's important plot wise then I'll care about it and try to figure it out.
    Chuck likes this.
  7. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    Well, the very fact that is it a mutation means it is different from the norm. Mutation must go through an evolutionary processes well, and most don't survive to become main stream. This mutation does well in one set of genetic code, but is corrected in another. It could just be super recessive, in the same way you need two blue eyed genes to pair to create a blue eyed child, maybe you need four pairs of something else to pass it on. Since so few have this, this circumstance becomes very rare.
  8. ShadeZ

    ShadeZ Sage

    Hybrid vigor- the extremely rare instance where instead of getting your mother's blue eyes or your father's brown eyes you get central heterocromia or both eye colors however your offspring only get blue eyes or brown eyes. Hybrid vigor is a rare instance that does not pass on to your offspring.
  9. Chuck

    Chuck Dreamer

    Another thing from genetics, genes are not always expressed. Sometimes genes will be present in the DNA, but will not manifest traits. Other times, those same genes will manifest traits. There are several factors that can affect this, such as environmental issues that encourage the trait to be expressed and other genes to be suppressed.

    You could create conditions that explain why certain traits are expressed and others suppressed.

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