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Need help with magic

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by IHaveNoName, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. froboy69

    froboy69 Member

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    Can you tell us more about the 'conditions' for using magic in whatever medium there is in your world?
     
  2. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Ah, yes. It's a lot like Bending - they physically manipulate matter, but they don't need any kind of motion to do it; they just concentrate, and it happens. This power isn't infinite, though; use too much or reach too far, and you can burn yourself out or become infused with elemental energy and die (burst into flames, evaporate into air, turn to stone, etc.). The power itself emanates from one of four nodes scattered about the world. There's more, but that's the basics of it.
     
  3. Gadock

    Gadock Member

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    Hey been a while since I've been on this forum. I always love thinking about possibilities when we're talking about magic. And one problem that I think everyone faces is indeed the one overpowered combination. I don't think you should leave lightning out perse, but rather make it more difficult to use. I'll elaborate more on that later.

    So far you've got a situation where magic users are fled into hiding, since they're the minority and social oppression can be very strong. Your problem with technology shooting up can simply be prevented by a dark age. For over 2 thousand (or was it 5?) years people haven't been aloud to use magic, prior to that magic must have been the foundation of technology. Those that could use it, wouldn't practise it, and after a while most wouldn't ever find out they. Small groups of people might have been experimenting in the last 500 years, but nothing could've been done in a grand scheme. Besides that, if you only have a handful of people practising, technology would only evolve very slowly. And they had to start from zero ( what would you do if you know you can use lightning but have no understanding of chemistry, biology, physics or even math?).

    Now since the group took over a small country their technology would indeed bloom, however it could still take hundreds of years to have technology similar to ours (as level, obviously they wouldn't build cars like we would). Bad side could again be that people can go power drunk, how would you set up boundaries to crime? Would there be discrimination to people that can't use it? Would there be group forming of elemental group (as in, fire people rejecting water people et. )

    Then to get back to lightning, only on very short distances electricity is very easily controllable. At larger distances it becomes impossible. People have tried standing in an empty field with only a large metal pole during a lightning storm to try to catch on of the thunder strikes but fail, even though their pole is the highest object and also the best conducting. There're a few theories but non explain in all situation, so we're not entirely sure why this happens. Now when you're a lightning caster, you shoot out an bolt in order to kill the person in front of you, what would the chances be that the bolt would go his direction? Precision striking with lightning would be mostly luck.

    Lets skip a decade ahead, people have gotten used to casting magic and technology has progressed quite significantly:
    - You've been talking about not walking mechs, this wouldn't be possible since you'd need algebra. This is our world exists only for 300 years, so would't in yours.
    - Any computer-like system would be impossible, mostly the metals made wouldn't be strong enough to support the weight, algebra is also used when building core structure.
    - Weaponry would be heavily focused on. Both earth casters and lightning casters would be able to create guns. The major difference between the two is that lightning casters would have the ability to charge their weapon, and therefor have a lot more destructive force.
    - Lightning casters would most likely also play a larger role in defence of any building, movements in any building.
    - Technically they could become a special force also using flares to blind, thunder to deafen?
    - Magnetism as already mentioned earlier could also be very important, don't underestimate how much power you need to do this though (At my university they have been able to make a frog float, they produced 8 tesla, and their costs of power was equivalent to the entire city's.

    Gonna leave it at this now, you like it? :p
     
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  4. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Supporter

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    I don't think it's necessary to remove Lightning. I mean, you could just come at it from another approach.

    If only 5% (if I remember correctly from what I've read) or so of the population can wield these powers, we can assume only 1/5 or so of them are Lightning wielders.

    You also mention that majority of wielders are not strong in their ability, or at least do not start off at the same level. Very few are extremely powerful, but probably the large majority are journeymen and novice users with a decent grasp on their powers.

    So you're looking at most Lightning users being able to detect energy. Studies have shown that humans influence each other in ways that we can't see; you can think of this as positive and negative energy. They can perhaps have some influence over this. They can use their powers to restore and heal individuals, or as a defibrillator as somebody earlier in the thread mentioned.

    And like positive and negative energy, there are good and bad wielders. Some who, with just the touch of a finger, can send a shock through somebody and fry them. Or enough to make their heart malfunction. Or torture them.

    Just because somebody has learned that they can control magnetism or electricity, doesn't necessarily automatically equate to technology. You still need to know all sorts of things about math. Not to mention, you'd need the user to cooperate, which means that if your setting is a world where magic users are feared or have to stay in hiding, this will effect technological advancement.

    And just think of all the interesting little conflicts this could cause. Since Lightning wielders would have control or influence over general fields of energy and magnetic forces, how does that effect the abilities of Fire users or Earth? Are their powers weaker, or does something feel strange?

    Can Lightning wielders hold thunderstorms over a region, assuming they're powerful enough?

    How about a young little boy who is a Fire wielder getting pissed off when a Lightning user proves he can start fires too, and impresses the girl he likes?

    I don't know man. But hey, regardless of whether or not you decide to try and run with it, do you have any of this book written? I want to beta read a chapter or something, you've got me hooked haha.
     
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  5. amerrigan

    amerrigan Member

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    I really like that 'magnet' part of this idea...

    For some reason all of this is making me think of the Aztecs and the whole 'Chariots of the Gods' study - where archaeologists (conspiracy theorists?) believed that Aztecs had more advanced technology than anyone should have had for their time... your protagonists could come across a massive secret/lost city... like the Aztecs 'City of Gold'... that is filled with electrical technology that shouldn't exist yet...
     
  6. froboy69

    froboy69 Member

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    Well I am happy that you're putting 'rules' and 'conditions'. It makes this form of magic something that we can appreciate even more.
     
  7. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    See the next post.

    Pretty much what was I thinking, too. I'm not exactly sure yet how long it's been since the cataclysm (I'm leaning toward 3000, give or take), but yeah - Lightning Wielders on the whole have had very little opportunity to practice their power because of the persecution. Not all of them are native to Uhabat, and some have escaped over the years, but there's nothing like the large-scale, well-entrenched disciplines that other elements have. And yes - greater levels of technology require higher science and math, which
    take lots of time to develop.

    Yes and no. If you're actively controlling the lightning, not just shooting it out like a short-circuiting power line, it's a lot easier to hit someone. Range does matter, though, as I note below.


    I do, thanks. I didn't realize levitation required that much power. Magneto can do it because he's one of the most powerful mutants on the planet; the most powerful Lightning Wielders would be on par with him, so it could be possible.


    Yeah, you got it right. I originally had it at 15%, but I reduced it to 5%. The world population is ~250 million, so that's still 12.5 million people with magical ability, or about a million Lightning Wielders.

    Yup. See my post above about the assassin monks.

    Not the world as a whole, just that one continent. In the rest of the world, Wielders are treated like people in general - some like them, some hate them.

    Not energy in general, no... and I doubt it would affect Earth Wielders.

    No. That's the purview of Storm Wielders, though a Lightning Wielder could draw upon a storm's power to call down lightning bolts.

    :lol: I like that.

    I've gotten 70K words of it written, but it's all over the place - mostly pivotal scenes that I'll have to rewrite. I had to retool the original plot (which is still a WIP), and I'm still working on the world-building. If I ever get this thing off the ground, I'll post something in the workshop.

    I've read that book. The theories put forth the idea that the Aztec carvings were about men from space visiting Earth, not that the Aztecs had advanced tech. I considered doing something like the Dwemer from Elder Scrolls, but you can't make items that store a charge, which is what constructs would need to function (chemical batteries notwithstanding, since they don't have the tech level to make something powerful enough).

    I work better with constraints and a solid framework. In my earlier works, wizards could use magic, and I had no real defined limits for what they could/couldn't do, and it just didn't work out well - it was too hard for me to visualize things and make realistic hurdles the characters had to overcome. I like this system much better. See my next post for a more detailed writeup.
     
  8. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    More details on the magic system (and again, apologies for most posting it sooner, but there really is a lot of info).

    Originally, magic was just four elements - Air, Earth, Fire, Water. Magic was later split into 12 elements (long story, and not really relevant); the original four became know as the "greater" elements, and the new eight (Storm, Ice, Blood, Wood, Metal, Shadow, Lightning, Light) are known as "lesser" elements.

    I view it as splitting light by passing it through a prism - instead of simple white light, you get a whole spectrum of colors: the primary colors (red, blue, yellow), and the secondary (orange, green, purple). It's the same with the elements; each of the lesser elements is a combination of the two elements to either side of it. For example, Metal is a combination of Fire and Earth; it sits closer to Earth because Earth has more influence on it. Likewise, Lightning is Fire and Air.

    Magical ability is inborn, and largely genetic (I say "largely" because there are rare cases of people with no history of ability being born with it). Which ability you have is determined by your race and where you're born: each node gives off emanations, which affect unborn children and affect their chances of coming up Talented - the closer you are, the greater the chance. The areas where two nodes' emanations overlap is where you get the lesser element wielders (yes, I mapped this all out... I had to be precise).

    Now, as for how magic works. As I mentioned, Wielders most commonly physically manipulate their element - an Earth Wielder can move and shape earth or stone, a Fire Wielder is like Pyro from the X-Men comics, etc. Unlike Avatar, they don't need fancy gestures and such - they're more like Aes Sedai, except that other Wielders can't see the power being used.

    More powerful Wielders can also draw upon related sources of energy. For example, a Fire Wielder can draw the heat from the air around him (or from living beings, if he's powerful enough) to create fire; a Water Wielder can do the same. Lightning Wielders are like electric eels - they can generate their own electricity (the amount varies according to their power), though doing this too much will kill them - and at higher levels, they can draw power from the planet's magnetic field and convert it to electricity (note: the amount of electrical energy in a normal living being is far too small to be useful).

    All Wielders (except in extremely rare cases known as hybrids) can only use one greater element, but some also have a lesser amount of ability with one related lesser element - an Air Wielder, for example, might be able to use Light or Storm magic - but only about half the power level of the greater element. Likewise, Wielders who are most powerful in lesser elements will always have some small ability with the closest greater element - Lightning Wielders will have some power in Fire.

    I also created "complementary materials" - metals, minerals, and woods that amplify a Wielder's magic depending on the amount, type, and purity (for example, copper will amplify a Lightning Wielder's power). These are often made into foci, items specially crafted to channel power. A shock baton, for example, is a wooden cudgel inlaid with copper wire; touching someone with it will channel the Wielder's charge, multiplying it by 2-3x. Skyships are made with atharite hulls and use a helm made of sapphire, both materials that amplify Air. Because the elements are split, it's impossible to make a "charged item" - that is, something that stores energy, like a battery (before they were split, you could do it, though they were still difficult to make and thus rare and valuable).

    As for power levels, I set up a ranking system from 1-8 (it was 10 before magic was broken, but the prism effect weakened them all); lesser elements can only go up to 6. This, of course, doesn't appear in the story - it's just meta-information for my purposes. The power distribution, as I said, is pyramid-shaped - the largest number at the bottom, decreasing as you go up, until there are only a handful (maybe 20-25) at the top.

    Note: All Lightning Wielders can channel electricity through a conductive medium (metal, water, etc.); the range of this increases by power level.

    Level 1: The Wielder can deliver a nasty shock, akin to static electricity; enough to cause pain, but not seriously debilitating without additional training. The assassin monks I mentioned before are mostly L1 and L2.

    Level 2: The shock is greater, akin to a taser (50-100K volts at 25 watts), and can be delivered at range.

    Level 3: They can create a small lightning bolt, or hit someone with a stun gun charge (1-4 million volts, enough to drop you). Wielders of this level can also sense the electrical auras of living beings (about 10 feet; range increases with power). They can store up energy, like from a natural lightning bolt, for a short period of time before having to discharge it. They can also ground a lightning strike, but only once (further strikes in a short period would overwhelm and kill them).

    Level 4: They can draw energy from magnetic fields, store energy longer, and ground multiple strikes.

    Level 5: The level of power is akin to a small power plant (KW of power on a steady flow), though most Wielders can't maintain that level for more than an hour or so.

    Level 6: If you're familiar with anime, a Level 6 would be around the level of Misaka Mikoto from To Aru Majutsu no Index - she's the most powerful electromaster in the world, nicknamed Railgun. She, however, can use her power almost endlessly, whereas Wielders will eventually wear out (or burn out, or die) from using their power too much.
     
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  9. amerrigan

    amerrigan Member

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    Oh... yeah that's right... It was aliens wasn't it... sorry, I just thought it was Chariots of the Gods where I saw this thing:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdad_Battery

    but I was mistaken.

    Now; while I know this thing has been debunked, the 'conspiracy theorists' in what I saw were floating the idea that something like this could still actually conduct electricity - I thought it might be a useful bit of trivia for the imagination.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  10. TheWriteWitch

    TheWriteWitch Active Member

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    What if the lightning wielders are a version of lighthouse keepers? They cannot explain it but they can, when conditions are right, create flares of light. They could figure out how to generate static electricity to charge their own response?

    It feels like the lightning wielders stand out anyway, so why not make them alchemists?
     
  11. ChaosReigns

    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    I like you was particularly having trouble with lightening users as well, when i realised that it would be more suited to people like mercenaries who could use it with their weaponry to basically fry anyone they attacked (but that's because the MC in question for mine is a swordsman)

    they could also use it to start fires to clear forests/vast areas like fire wielders. using the lightening to set fires.
     
  12. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Yeah. I'll have to think on that a bit.

    Hmm... they could send a charge up a wire to create a flash or something, or use ball lightning or lightning bolts as signals. Alchemy... interesting idea, but how would it fit with electricity?
     
  13. froboy69

    froboy69 Member

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    Have you tried drawing? I am not going to lie: I actually felt 'stuck' on this type of magic that I was working on because while I could picture it, it didn't seem as clear in my mind as I wanted to. After I started drawing in a comic-like matter, it worked perfectly. I think that helps the creativity to a point and it may help you a lot more with what you currently have.

    But that's just me.
     
  14. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    I've never been artistically inclined, unfortunately. :)
     
  15. Infel

    Infel Active Member

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    I had was mulling this thread over the other day and had an interesting thought:

    What if lightning could be used as a medieval laser cutter? We take a lot of things for granted about fantasy in this day and age, like that getting melted metal into the shape of a blade required a cast. What if your lightning wielders were responsible for laser cutting out wax casts for swords or arms or jewelry, responsible for creating the casts that made nails, hooks, hammers? What if they were the ones etching fine details into rings or designs into the blades of weapons made for kings? What if they were fantasy welders, able to bind different sections of metal together to make oddly shaped or very custom fitting armor?

    It was hard to bend and shape metal back then!
     
  16. froboy69

    froboy69 Member

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    Doesn't have to be amazing art lol. But yeah you do what you want that makes you comfortable.
     
  17. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Interesting idea. The welding thing is certainly possible, but I don't think you can use electricity to cut stuff.
     
  18. Infel

    Infel Active Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_cutting

    Thats what I was thinking. You could make some pretty cool blades with it.
     
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  19. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Wow. That's badass. It would require a fair bit of power and a huge amount of concentration, but it could be doable.
     
  20. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Every living thing has electricity (bio electromagnetism). To some extent control the electricity, control the the impulse, movement, etc. I know it is a bit gruesome, but there is potential for humor as well.
     
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  21. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Hmm. Hadn't thought of that. I had considered it for Blood Wielders, but not Lightning... that's an interesting idea.
     
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  22. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Well you can make a character move a certain way with the help of bio electromagnetism. Even plants! You can also heal using this as well. Ex: Someone who is paralyzed due to nerve damage or just nerve damage in general. This is possible theoretically. With the electricity to forge new highways (interneurons) thereby healing or creating the renewed (as the original highway is not healed) possibility of walking.
     
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  23. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    Yeah, I've got ideas for healing - someone mentioned it upthread, and it made me think of acupuncture. Interesting idea, forging new nerve pathways.
     
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  24. Stuart B

    Stuart B Member

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    When lightning hits sand under the right conditions it can melt the sand together. The effect is usally these insane looking hollow tree root kind of things that are rough fused sand on the outside but smooth glass on the inside.

    With more controlled lightening someone could use it to create glass art work or other thing complex glass tube shapes could be used for.

    Here is a little more info.
     
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  25. Stuart B

    Stuart B Member

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    Another thought that just popped into my head; if earth magic people can manipulate sand you can have a earth magic and lightening magic person work together to create something.

    Just some random ideas:

    If they are less than honest maybe they can use their skills to create fake gems (through a manipulation of glass and lightening). I don't know how easy it is to make glass pass for gems in the real world though.

    And if the earth manipulate can throw sand and the lightening guys hits it with lighting you'd get a very nasty weapon; flying glass shards.
     
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