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Worlds where magic is literally in the air?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Swordfry, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

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    One of my ideas for my fantasy world is that this fictional earth-like planet of mine literally has magic in the air. It is really just a very primordial form of energy that was used in creating the planet by the gods. Every intelligent living being is capable of performing magic, which is only limited by the user's imagination and strength, not spell books and incantations. The whole place is just magical, where real miracles can and do happen, some people are born with a freakishly adept at performing magic, and sometimes odd things just happen on any scale. It is nothing world breaking, or anything that really changes the people. Is anyone catching on here, lol?

    How common of a trope is this? I guess you could call it magic air, magic is everywhere, I don't know.

    Here are two real good examples I can think of similar to what I am talking about, although I have not actually read these so I could be mistaken:

    - Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series.

    - C. S. Friedman's "The Coldfire Trilogy." (This one has always intrigued me as, from what I understand, the Fae as it's called in the book, is a natural form of magic energy that covers the planet and is hostile to people like a living creature, but can be harnessed and used just like magic)
     
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  2. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I know Maori mysticism believed that spiritual power (hau or mauri) was in the air and people gained this power by breathing. Hence why you die when you stop breathing. Getting this power out of the air and into objects was the main ability of mages.
    If I'm not mistaken, the Maori word for air is hau-takiwa which translates to "space full of spiritual essence". And the word for breathe is the same as the word for spirit.

    That's all I got.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
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  3. Scribe Lord

    Scribe Lord Minstrel

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    I may be off the mark on what you mean here... It really depends how much one's 'strength' factors in, but magic only limited by one's imagination would result in a completely unrecognizable world. Just to scratch at the surface, most jobs and crafts would simply cease to exist. Each individual person would be self sufficient, as they could imagine up food or whatever else they required. Right?
     
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  4. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

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    Yeah you have a good point, but I suppose I'll elaborate just a bit more to clear this up: Everybody can use magic, but the vast majority of people choose not to because of the consequences. In this world, this magic comes at a big cost. Every single use taxes one's body, mind, or spirit. It's random which one is chosen as a source. It can be anything from getting a bruise, headache, or a sudden rush of fear, to paralyzed limbs, permanent memory loss or degradation of intellect, or becoming a coward and/or more heartless and mean person.

    Also, this magic is hard to use, as even skilled "mages" tend to stick with safer, smaller magical effects. There is however, one person born every fifty years or so that is at the level of a typical skilled wizard you see in many fantasy works. So using this magic as a shortcut for crafting just isn't possible, and is also frowned on as my races are still a little primitive and hard working.
     
  5. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

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    Cool. I'll look into that, especially with that new Disney movie coming out based on that culture, lol.

    Just to clear the air, I meant "magic is in the air" like saying "love is in the air." It isn't literally in the air, it's just an energy that permeates the whole planet.

    *looks at topic title* Guess I was misleading you, but I was struggling with a topic name...
     
  6. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    The entire magic system in my universe is based around the idea that portals to 'the Void' exist, and 'Voidstuff', an invisible energy, leaks into the world through these portals. Voidstuff allows magic-users' minds to have greater control over reality.

    I like these kinds of systems because they're one of the more – I don't want to say realistic – but believable systems of magic.
     
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  7. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

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    Thanks a lot. Don't know how I missed this, but I don't spend so much time on tv tropes anymore, and for the better, lol. See I knew this was a thing, and not uncommon, but I just needed to place a name and several clear examples to it.
     
  8. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

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    I agree. Having magic as a raw, ever present force of nature seems more realistic, and sometimes cooler and more fun to me. I think most stories try to touch on this, but just express it as just saying magic is like less of a force of nature, and just more of a divine energy or something...I don't know, my head's starting to hurt just a little.
     
  9. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

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    I haven't seen it much in practice that I can remember/ is remarkable. I guess maybe avatar:TLA could work by these rules? But since they don't explore much of a scientific reasoning for their ability to bend elements we'll never know.

    My world though has a similar idea. Magic is a property of a wave/atom particle called Arcanatom which exists in abundance in the universe. Its usually not found by itself in nature as it's highly reactive. Every race in the world is able to manipulate certain combinations of the particle, and learn to manipulate the other versions.
     
  10. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    That should be a rule with writers: careful how you use the word "literally".
     
  11. MeanMachine

    MeanMachine Scribe

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    The magic in the world of the story I'm working on right now follows the same idea as yours, Swordfry, with the energy of magic, called Aura (It was that or Mana, so..) being omnipresent in the atmosphere. To be honest, I took the idea from FF12 :p .

    Anyway, it’s related to the world’s solar system creation, and originates from the planet’s core, where it makes its way to the crust, and there, a good portion of it ends up coalescing into a crystalline form, which is used to power most of the world’s technology. It can be used to work magic by pretty much anyone to good effect with some practice. It works a bit like FMA's alchemy, using magic cirles, runes, geometry and whatnot, with the Aura being drawn in and "stored" in the magic user's body.

    It also makes any dead human reanimate as a zombie, this being the result of the ambient Aura pooling inside the body. As a result, incineration of the dead is universally practiced in this world.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2016
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  12. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    I had to "Thank" you just for using the word "imagination". I think that's the coolest way to think about people's potential for magic use. It's got me thinking about so many possibilities! Insanely powerful children zomg.
     
  13. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

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    Well to me that's exactly what magic should be. I cannot stand how modern culture has made magic such a procedural thing with spell books, incantations, and all of that. There's a spell for a fireball, one little flame, a line of fire, but what if I wanted to create say a wall of fire? And there is no spell for that? Well that sucks, some magic. The way magic should work to me, and how it does in my stories, is that if you can think it, you can do it. Anything is possible, so long as you have the proper amount of energy and courage.
     
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