1. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Magic Systems

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Klee, Jul 7, 2008.

    I thought this would be an interesting topic to post and discuss about. So, post the magic system you use in your story/stories or make one up right now. Does it need aides? Like a wand or a book. Can it be learned or is it inherited by bloodline? Does it appear at random in people? Where does the power come from? Are there many types of magic or just one? Does a large number of people use it or only a selected few? Is it exclusive to a race? Does it have a name? How does it affect the world in which it is used? Can you give us some examples of it's usages? Can you tell us which character(s) uses it?

    Ok, so I'll start.

    One of the systems I made up, has it's basis on the eyes. All the magic comes from the eye (one or both). It doesn't have a discernible origin but it does run out, by that I mean that it dies out with age or usage. There aren't any types of this eye magic (or "eye ability" like I like to call it) but there are various effects. For example, look at a thing and it combusts instantly, or microscopic vision. One character even changes personality when his eye color changes.

    Curiously, most (if not all) the people in the same world have heterochromia (different eye color). Most users of eye ability attend a special school to learn how to use their powers properly and have control over them, otherwise it could lead to accidents or misuse.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    When I wrote fantasy stories, it was always fairly basic. An invisible energy field, which could be manipulated by a select few with the ability, through mental discipline, and powered by emotions. Sounds kinda like force, actually...
     
  3. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Hmmm, very interesting topic.

    The magic system I'm using in my current novel basically uses magical energy that can be chanelled through the fingers or through objects with specific properties. It's hereditary. Also, those who use it are always born on an equinox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox). It's possible to marry into magic by performing a special ceremony, which must be carried out on one of the two yearly equinoxes.
    The humans who use this magic do not have magic inside them. Instead, they have the ability to channel magical energy. There are two types of magic: white magic and dark magic. The change occurs when magic is channelled through someone who is either good (white magic) or evil (dark magic).
    Powers include: creating fireballs; summoning objects; casting spells, charms, curses, hexes, and jinxes; flickering (the act of disappearing and reappering somewhere else); and throwing objects.
     
  4. Killjoy
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    Killjoy Member

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    I'm only beginning my novel, and haven't introduced any magic or magicians yet, but the basic idea I have for the magic system is that it's all mental. No uttering of words, flapping of arms, use of potions or ritualistic objects etc.

    Everything is done through the mind. When I finally introduce magic into the story I'm not sure about the details of the limits of the magic, but I do know it will encompass physical things (Blowing things up, telekinesis etc) aswell as mental (illusions).
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    By the way, there are other threads on this topic as well. I think most of them are under Plot Creation, if you are interested in what has already been discussed on this subject.
     
  6. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I'll respond by copying a post I made about magic systems in another writing forum. Hope this isn't a terrible breach or anything. :) I'll answer the specific questions here after that.

    My original post:

    My stories, based loosely on Ojibwa (American Indian) mythology, make use of elemental "medicine" (I shy away from the word "magic," because in this world, it's not considered magic, it's just another form of power). Since the nature spirits are mostly related to natural things, then the medicine is too, though I often categorize it with European elemental terms (earth, air, fire, water and related things like stone, sand, ice, wood, lightning, etc.).

    The way medicine is usually obtained is, you're either born with it (meaning you have some supernatural lineage), or you're granted it (permanently, from a patron spirit, or just on an "as needed" basis). Those who don't have medicine but want to use it must "ask" for it from the nature spirits, who may not choose to give it, so it's sometimes unreliable; also, the more one uses medicine, especially without properly asking or thanking for it (or in a manner which the spirits find offensive or harmful), the less likely the spirits are to be generous enough to loan it. Also, thanking a spirit for lending its power is strongly encouraged. The spirits are "people" just like everyone else, after all. They can be influenced, and even coerced, but the latter can be a bad thing (see below).

    There are means by which to manipulate people by utilizing some part of their person (similar to the stereotypical voodoo doll), and of course there's lots of emphasis on the power of dreams, written symbols, songs, dances, etc.

    There are minor spirits (mostly nature spirits), and major spirits, the latter of whom often choose certain people to become the patron of and grant powers to. Meaning, one person might have a bear spirit as his patron, another person might have the North Wind, etc. The powers a person gets depend heavily on the spirit which favors them. These spirits are "acquired" usually through a dream or vision.

    There's also a strong emphasis on equal exchange--you have to pay for what you get, and what you cast out might come back at you eventually (e. g., the more powerful you become and the more easily you can force a spirit to do your bidding, the greater your chances of ending up regretting it)--and if this isn't followed then great imbalance can occur.

    That's the magic system I use, at least. :D I don't really care for wand waving and funny hats and stuff like that, though I do have people shaking rattles and wearing feathers...


    Now the specific questions...

    Does it need aides? Like a wand or a book.

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. (Examples--animal fetishes, medicine dolls, rattles, birchbark scrolls, etc.)

    Can it be learned or is it inherited by bloodline?

    Both. It's mostly learned, though, since to be inherited one would have to be part spirit (manitou) or some other supernatural creature. Sometimes, also, like I said above it can be given.

    Does it appear at random in people?

    It doesn't tend to, though I wouldn't rule anything out. If it appeared "at random" I'm pretty sure it wouldn't really be random, it'd just seem that way from the outside.

    Where does the power come from?

    Generally it comes from spiritual beings known as manitous, though there are other supernatural beings such as Thunderbirds, Underwater Lynxes, Little People, etc. who have their own forms of medicine.

    Are there many types of magic or just one?

    Many types, though I think they mostly follow the same principles and probably come from the same source. To paraphrase what one character says at some point, there's no such thing as good or bad medicine, it's just in how you use it.

    Does a large number of people use it or only a selected few?

    It seems like lots of people in the stories I write, but medicine is actually something that most usual people don't practice, at least to any great extent. Many people can make use of small forms of medicine, though; this is mostly because "medicine" is just considered a part of life. Merely using a charm to help plants grow might be considered a form of medicine, for example.

    Is it exclusive to a race?

    Not by any means. Almost anyone can have access to it, if they know how to obtain it.

    Does it have a name?

    There are probably different terms for different kinds (just as there are different names for various kinds of medicine men) but the general term "medicine" is used. It's just a form of supernatural power, not really considered "magic."

    How does it affect the world in which it is used?

    All sorts of ways, considering that the manitous are "only human" and whatever they do generally has some sort of effect on the world, for better or worse. It can be things as minor as causing rainfall to as major as ending the world.

    Can you give us some examples of it's usages?

    If I did that we'd be here all day. :D It's in the stories.

    Can you tell us which character(s) uses it?

    Many of the characters; without reading the story it's just a bunch of names out of context, so...*shrug*
     
  7. The Essential Writer
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    The Essential Writer Senior Member

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    I forgot, really!
    I don't usually write fantasy, but there is a lot of psionic / superhuman abilities that I use for Science Fiction that could easily be described as magic. Fairly complex abilities that enable extreme exploitation but always, always, come with a price.
     
  8. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    In the first book I wrote, magic came from the combined force of two, yes as in a couple. I'm a romantic, so shoot me. Anyway, each, individually held a specific magical ability. But, when combined, through a great source of love, the couple became much more powerful, than they ever would have been alone. Thus enabling them to defeat the evil bad dudes. Hey, thats my take on it, so no body poo-poo on my romance.
     
  9. The Essential Writer
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    The Essential Writer Senior Member

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    I forgot, really!
    lol.
     
  10. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I thought this would be an interesting topic to post and discuss about. So, post the magic system you use in your story/stories or make one up right now.

    I haven't done magic in ages and I only did it once but here's the system: It's an elemental system that doesn't run on the "Rock, Paper, Scissors" principle. No "water trumps fire", or worrying "he's an earth elemental! Fire is weak against that!" ... it's more about how creatively you can use what you've got, there's not really any "inherent weaknesses" to having any of the elements.

    Does it need aides?

    Nope, sometimes it is used as an aide, though (such as a wind elemental using manipulation of the air to lift something normally too heavy).

    Can it be learned or is it inherited by bloodline? Does it appear at random in people?

    Everybody gets it, it's common. However, it's naturally weak and must be trained/used often for it to be put to any use and learning some uses are harder than others. What does appear at random is the inability to use it; this is typically accompanied by nigh invulnerability (not that it helps when all you can do is throw a punch while you opponent is throwing boulders).

    Where does the power come from?

    I never decided this but I was tossing around the idea for a while that when you die your soul recycled into magic.

    Are there many types of magic or just one?

    Earth, Fire, Wind and Water ... these can be "crossed-over" but it's very difficult and requires some training (an Earth elemental could control enough Fire element to create/control lava for instance).

    Does a large number of people use it or only a selected few?

    Everyone uses it for one reason or another and depending on how often they use or hard hard they work at using it some are better than others.

    Is it exclusive to a race?

    Humans are the only species in the story aside from golems which all use Earth by default; if they can be said to use it at all (they're usually not trained and the way they use it is often different from the way a standard Earth elemental would use it).

    Does it have a name?

    Never named it either ...

    How does it affect the world in which it is used?

    It's a natural ability so used fairly commonly and often as a way of business. There's also an extensive "martial arts" style training to use the magic as a weapon.

    Can you give us some examples of it's usages?

    A water elemental (with enough practice) can create ice so during the summer they might sell ice to other residents of the village who don't have an ice-making ability.


    Can you tell us which character(s) uses it?


    All of them. (except one)
     
  11. Darth Ranne
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    Darth Ranne New Member

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    In the fantasy story/novel I've been starting to write, the characters have an almost cliched way to reach their magic; or that's how I see it now.

    Okay, the rest of this post is all assuming you're in the land of said fantasy story - I'll say things like 'to date' and 'in history', etc.

    Within each person - although for some it's easier to tap into than for others - there is a Well; this Well contains your magical 'energy', I guess you could say. Discovery of your Well is instinctive. However, in rare cases a person may have to be shown, or guided, to be able to tap into this source. A Well is located behind the heart - each person's is unique, having slightly different effects on the magic they can perform. Aside from this, every Well appears as a 'pool' of golden liquid, visible only to the person it resides in or one close to them - or rarely, if someone gives another permission to use or look at their Well.

    Confusing, I know. >.<

    Once tapped into, and with some teaching, a person will rarely have to think twice about summoning such magical energy to their aid. Each person's skill varies.

    There are eight Powers - and to date there has been not one person skilled in all. The most powerful Mage in recorded history could only manage mastery of three or four. The Powers are Water (can control water, summon water, create ice etc), Fire (summon fire Elementals, are not burned by fire, create fire for light/warmth), Earth (create rifts in the earth, very skilled with gems and metals), Nature (can shapeshift, bend plants to their will, converse with animals), Spirit (walk in dreams, have prophetic dreams, mind control people), Healing (self explanatory), Weather (also fairly self explanatory), Air (supportive power to Weather, make air solid, make air move).

    Also, magic can be twisted - from this came Dark Magic. Dark Magic limits a person only to using Spirit, and taints their mind if they use it extensively, however it is more powerful than ordinary magic.

    Wow, that was REALLY long-winded, sorry. :(
     
  12. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I would like to say that in my short story i base magic off Wiccan beliefs and practices. I used to follow the Wiccan religion so it just made sense to me for that to be the basis of magic in my novel
     

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