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Would you ever break the rules of your magic system to create a sense of wonder?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Annoyingkid, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    Again, no. DOTA's explanation is pure science with "magic happens" in between. Person does magic, which speeds up molecules, ergo causing heat. Saying you energised the molecules of something is the exact same as saying you heated that something up. Meanwhile, midichlorians remains made-up sciencey-sounding hocus pocus.
  2. Thing is, midichlorions don't explain anything. They don't have anything to do with how the force works or what its limits are or what kinds of powers a force user can have, it's just a vague, kind of nonsensical made up thing to supplement another made up thing.

    They don't make sense anyway. Qui-Gon says no life could exist without them. Are they not a life form then? What are they?

    They just make things more confusing instead of defining rules about how force powers can work. So no. Not fond of midichlorions.

    Why are we even talking about this? It seems a wide jump in topic.
  3. By down to a science, I mean that magic works consistently in ways that can be measured and understood and defined. That's the way i prefer my magic systems. Science works because the laws of nature are consistent, enabling us to make predictions. Likewise i like magic systems to be governed by consistent rules.

    Along with this, I like them to fit nicely with known laws of science, somewhat, but i'm flexible with this. Bend them, sure. Don't smash them to pieces. As in magic causes agitation of molecules, creating heat. (As opposed to magic doing things like causing objects to grow wings or transmuting pure elements. Things where it's very hard to both explain what exactly the magic is doing and why can't that be applied in other, very overpowered ways. A wizard who could split apart atoms and recreate them in different configurations could have power over all matter, kill people at will and create anything he wanted, not to mention create a nuclear explosion...so, if you have a wizard turning lead into gold, or objects into stone, or rocks into biscuits dripping with butter, I'm going to wonder why he can't just turn the dark lord's brain tissues into uranium or his bladder into an angry pigeon with razors for claws. If there's a long alchemical process, I'm still going to wonder why lots of technologies aren't invented. And why there aren't massive amounts of deadly radiation coming from his lab or wherever he works.)

    Not saying i wouldn't accept an alchemist or even write one (given strict rules about the limits of the alchemist's powers, if writing) though.

    I also like them confined, as in, there are lots of things magic can't do.

    This is all just my preference. I'm a hard fantasy type gal, i guess. I've had softer fantasy magic ideas, but they are usually on a very small, mundane scale. Like magical candy or something. I'm tired and I'm not gonna argue.
  4. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

    The "magic happens" part with a little bit of appropriated real science sprinkled in makes it made-up sciencey-sounding hocus pocus. Dragon defaults to:

    It's either real science or it isn't. Star wars took the concept of cells (real science), added in a fictional element (midchlorians interacting) while DragonAerie took the concept of heat physics (real science) and added a fictional element (see quote). Any difference in principle you argue is splitting hairs.

    It explains Anakin's force potential, Chosen one status and creates a measurable numerical hierarchy in terms of force potential.

    I could pick apart your system the same way. As I established earlier, every explanation you create, creates another question. You cannot explain magic with science. All anyone can do is provide a veneer of scientific language. Aka technobabble.

    Which is why I would argue that mixing magic and science isn't a good thing. It opens you to plotholes. More so than if you just stayed vague. While you can say it's your opinion and you like what you like, and that's true, but it more objectively does is put the focus on the magic, which leaves it open to more scrutiny, and restricts the ways in which magic can facilitate the narrative which is desirable or not depending on the tone of the setting. Meaning he reason why Harry Potter's magic isn't explained much is because to do so would inhibit the zany adventure and make it something more grounded and creatively conservative.
  5. Well, no one will be forcing you to read my books, if it bothers you this much.

    I can defend my worldbuilding choices into infinity, but in the end, the only reason I can offer for why my world is the way it is, is that I like it that way. There's no way to say any one approach is "better" than another, and I'm not saying there is. I follow the one that suits me.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    It is worth noting that something isn't precluded from being scientific just because there are open questions or things that can't be explained at the moment. It is scientific when it is subject to the scientific method. The fact that you reach a "no one knows yet" point doesn't change this--happens in real science all the time.
  7. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    Why wouldn't a "dark lord" have resistance to magic from a common wizard? If you prefer your magic to have limits, I'd think a natural limit for it to have would be what (or who) it can effect and to what extent.

    For my works magic often doesn't fare too well against "cute girls". ;) For example the dark lord's death energy that kills hundreds of men at a touch within seconds, when pumped directly inside the body of one of the Baeforce champions for an extended time... only hurts her but not enough to stop her from physically ripping his head off. lol
  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I see two different things being argued here, one inside the story and one outside.

    Inside the story, the only thing the author need do is engage a reader. Note I do not say engage *every* reader. There will always be someone unconvinced by your magic system, no matter how logical it appears to you. The goal is to convince most readers that what happens within the confines of the story makes sense.

    Outside the story, it's another matter entirely. That's where all these arguments about scientific explanations of magic take place, because now we're operating under real-world physics. There's no need to hold the story to that standard, nor is there much to be gained by trying to impose or inject serious science into a work of fantasy. Breaking out of real-world science is part of the point of fantasy. One kind of logic for inside, another for outside. Much of the disagreement I'm saying stems from mingling the two.

    Or, as the great philosopher Marx once said:
    Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

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