Are Magic Systems a Distraction?

Are Magic Systems a Distraction?

spell compendiumA fellow writer shared his dilemma with me.  He and his partner were starting a new project, and had invested much time in developing a magic system.  He had shared it with me before, and I was intrigued by their original spin on magic and spell-casting.

But then something happened.  While flipping through the channels, they came across a television series in which characters were using magic.  And to my friend’s horror, they were using virtually the same magic system that he had just spent months developing.

Understandably, this felt like a major setback.  But was it?

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How to Design Your Diabolical Cult

How to Design Your Diabolical Cult

conan_the_barbarian1In the summer of 1982 I had a life changing experience.  Although I was underage, I accompanied my father to see the new epic fantasy Conan the Barbarian, starring Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger.  While the film itself was amazing (especially the score), I was particularly impressed by its charismatic villain, Thulsa Doom.

As portrayed by James Earl Jones, this Thulsa Doom wasn’t the grotesque necromancer from the Robert E. Howard stories.  Instead, he was an appealing and persuasive speaker with the power to control the masses.  When he spoke, people obeyed him – even eagerly jumping to their death at his command.  He was, in short, a cult leader.

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