1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Opinion on my magic system

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Lea`Brooks, Sep 13, 2015.

    First of all, I am going to apologize in advance if this doesn't make any sense. I'm not feeling well so my brain is really foggy. I hope it comes across clearly enough though.

    I haven't been writing much recently. A lot has been going on, so I'm taking the rest of the month off. However, today I was thinking about the magic in my WIP, and I don't know if it's my foggy brain from being sick or just because I've had so much distance but... It just doesn't seem right to me anymore. So let me run it by you and see what you think.

    I have three gods--Life, Death, and Spirit--and corresponding magic for each. Every person in my world has one of those three magical abilities to some degree, though some are stronger than others. I've thought about having their magical strength determine their class, but since it's not super important right now, I haven't delved into it.

    Life and death magic are basically how they sound. Life magic workers (I really need to come up with a better name for this...) can heal people and bring plants, possibly animals but not humans, back to life. The super strong can create things out of thin air. Death magic users can obviously kill, spread disease, and destroy. Spirit is more complicated. I have them being the more "otherworldly" characters that deal with the unknown. They can communicate with the dead, bring the dead back to life (by controlling their spirit), and some can even predict the future.

    Each type of magic user can throw magic, or energy balls (again, need a better name). Life magic orbs look like water and light. Death magic looks like fire and shadow. Spirit magic looks like wind and mist or smoke.

    Life and Death magic are very common, with Spirit being less so. Most of the Spirit workers that do exist live in hiding. Their magic is so powerful and useful that they're afraid others will try to manipulate/force them to do things they don't want to do. They've been in hiding for so long that many don't even know Spirit magic exists.

    That's the basics. Here's my dilemma. There is an evil force in the world that is killing plants, animals, humans, and magic. Since the force appeared, magic has become very rare and hard to use. My MC is Seren. She's been tasked with destroying said evil force. So she starts practicing magic and gets pretty good at it. But when she first uses her magic, it's Spirit magic. I have it written that no one recognizes it or even knows what it is because it is so rare, especially since the evil force appeared. So she has to go hunting down information to figure out what kind of magic she has, and I haven't even decided if she's going to find out in the first book.

    So a few questions:

    1) Do the different types of magic and what the users can do make sense?

    2) Do you have any suggestions for better names for these magic users other than Life worker, Spirit worker, etc? :p Also, if you have a suggestion for a fancier term than "energy ball," I'd appreciate that as well.

    3) Does it seem unrealistic to have no one be able to recognize Seren's magic? I don't mention there being Spirit magic in my book at all. I only talk about life and death because that's all my characters know about. But there are three gods -- Life, Death, and Spirit -- and two very common types of magic -- life and death. So wouldn't a logical character (or reader) just assume that there is Spirit magic too? I'd hate to have Seren spend all this time trying to figure out what kind of magic she has if the reader can already guess.


    Anyway.. Hope this makes sense. My head hurts now. :p Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Necronox
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    Necronox Active Member

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    1) Yes, personally I think it makes sense, from what you've written, I would say that not everyone can simply learn to do magic, and that those who do are usually hereditary or perhaps it is simply a "random chance" factor. that parts makes sense, but on the other hand, I would look as to why/how they can do magic which is something you haven't explained, but that doesn't mean you haven't fleshed that out already.

    2) Can't say I've got much to say on names, I would say it is down to the world and it's cultures. I find looking at languages that approximate your culture/world to be fruitful.

    3) Well, if the "spirit magic" is never introduced, then perhaps no, you could also shape events to make it look like Seren's magic is not any of the three (people believe it is a new kind of magic, but they are just simply misinterpreting). Also, having spirit magic is not necessarily obvious, if one just had life and death, you could quite easily think spirit magic is just part of either (e.g communication with the dead is death magic, while seeing the future could do with life).
     
  3. Jaro
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    Jaro Active Member

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    Makes sense to me. Honestly, you could even keep the names the way they are. The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind has two types of magic, and they are basically along the lines of your Life and Death magic. The first is called 'Additive' magic (making things grow or bringing them to life, creating things out of thin air, anything that can be seen as 'growing' or adding to. The second is 'Subtractive' magic, and is the exact opposite of 'Additive'. Anything that can remove, shrink, etc. A good example would be: With additive magic you can instantly grow a beard. But it would take subtractive magic to make it dissapear.
     
  4. Akarevaar
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    Akarevaar Member

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    1) Makes sense, I'd say.

    2) I always love going to latin or greek to find root words to name things. Latin for 'life' is 'vitae', so something along those lines? Latin for 'dark' is 'tenebris', and 'death' is 'mortem'. Latin for 'spirit' is 'pentrale'.

    3) I think you, as the author, can be the best judge. It really depends how you set up the world, and how well known you make spirit magic seem.

    Note: All magic systems need some sort of 'cost' to them. The price of magic. A reason that you can't become all powerful. A very simple version of this is the 'mana' system, which means you can't cast spells indefinitely. Alternatively, I've seen systems where you have to kill creatures in order to harness their energy, where performing magic reduces your life span, where magic leaves some sort of 'residue' that corrupts. You need something like that. What's the price for your magic?
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. Short anwser. Yes I think it makes sense.

    1. Long Anwser. I am going to try and explain them back to you. To see if I got the right idea and because if I do I think my explanation might help you. I hope. Here goes nothing.

    Your powers sound like points on a bar. Life/Death being the two extremes and spirit being right in the center. Which might be why spirit is so rare? The balancing position of two forces is hard to maintain. In that sense. Life magic is like the color white. Death magic is the color black and spirit is a shade of grey. As a tri-force of magic they form a complete circle that encompasses all and is not only a logical and complete system. A darn good one in my opinion.

    Does that help?

    2. I suck at names but I don't see any reason why your names can't work. If I suggested an alternate. I suppose I would say what I just did. Light/Dark/Grey. For energy ball replacement. I bounce around. I tend to call them differently based on who is saying it. But I have used energy ball. My other favorite is Aura Orb or Aura Sphere.

    3. Short anwser. Yes I can believe they didn't notice.

    3. Well. A few tricks come to mind. You said there Aura Sphere is a different based on there magic. That makes it tricky. Because then I wonder. How different are they? Do two different death magic users orb look the same? If so wouldn't hers looking different be a dead give away? Though in the context the people around er being a bit unaware. That helps. But does she eventually meet someone aware? I ask because I wouldn't want you to be painted in a corner by her suddenly meeting someone that does know what spirit aura orbs look like yet you need him to be in the dark. So the issue them to me stems. Is it hard to notice her powers? Or are they just that unaware? Food for thought.

    I hope I was able to help. :)
     
  6. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    The only thing I get hung up on is the names. Based on what Spirit mages do, it kinda sounds like an aspect of Death magic.
    Maybe calling your Death magic something else would ease any confusion, since the way you describe it makes it sound different from necromancy, which is what most people go to when they hear "death magic". Your death magic sounds more like destruction magic, rather than specifically death magic.
    Maybe Life mages are called Menders, and Death mages are called Breakers. Spirit mages, being mostly a rumor, don't really have a common name.
    You could also add other psychic abilities to the Spirit mages' bag of tricks: astral projection, telepathy, psychometry, etc.
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love those! Thank you! :)
    Magic is my world is basically like a muscle. You can only use it so much before it completely wears you down. Just like people can't run everywhere all the time, or people can only bench press so much, people can only use so much magic. At birth, they aren't given a set skill level. It's like any talent. It has to be practiced regularly to grow. And if they stop using it for a while, they won't be as powerful when they pick it up again. Hope that makes sense.


    That's exactly right! :D I've always considered their magic a circle, and without proper balance, the entire structure can fall apart. That's a key point in my series. One God starts getting too much power, and it makes the other two weaker. So my MC has to figure out how to neutralize the third God and bring balance back into the system. :)
    I like the use of "aura" but I'd really like to make it one word.. Maybe I can play with that a little more. :) Thanks!

    As for the spheres themselves, each type of magic is different than the other but everyone's looks the same for the most part. For example, a life user's sphere would look different than a death user's sphere, but two death users would have the same looking sphere. So when my MC Seren creates her first sphere, it looks different than life or death spheres. And since they'd never seen spirit magic before, they didn't know what it was.

    The evil force in my book has been around for 15 years. (I keep debating whether or not to make it longer, but I haven't made a full decision yet.) When the evil force appeared, magic quickly disappeared. It can still be used, it just takes a lot more effort and way more time than it used to, so most people don't even bother. All of my important characters are young -- late teens, early twenties. So they've rarely seen magic period. But Spirit magic is so rare, that even before the evil force appeared, few people saw it in action.

    Spirit users are cautious and don't like to advertise their existence. Most of them live together in secret, working quietly on the sidelines. Way before the evil force appeared (I'm talking hundred of years before the story starts), the Spirit users were open about their magic -- bringing people back from the dead, predicting the future, etc. And people started talking advantage of that. They would hold them hostage until the spirit user did what they wanted, often resulting in bad things happening. So they decided to go underground to protect themselves and others from their abilities.

    So now, present day story, most people don't even know they exist. There are rumors and legends, of course, but the people who have actually seen them are few and far between. When Seren first uses her magic, she has to go to someone else and ask about it. That woman then does some research into it, finding the myths but no definitive proof. So then Seren has to go to a "laboratory" of sorts, where once super stronger magical people used to perform experiments and conduct research, and see if they left any information behind that could help her. I'm working on that chapter now, so I'm not sure if she's going to find out right away or not. Maybe she will! Because then the drama will get stirred up early and make more sense leading into the next book.

    Thanks! :)


    Yeah, the idea is to call the Death magic something else. lol It definitely is more creation/destruction but it's easier to call it Life, Death, and Spirit because it's the circle of life, yanno? I like Akarevaar's suggestion about vitae, mortem, and pentrale, so I may go something along those lines.

    I thought about making the Spirit users more psychic in that aspect too but I was worried they'd sound too powerful. Life people can only heal and create stuff out of thin air. Death people can only kill/make ill and destroy stuff. But Spirit people can talk to/raise the dead, predict the future, read the past, communicate telepathically, etc. etc. I was worried they'd sound too strong and make it a little unrealistic. Granted, I want them to be strong, hence why they hide. But I didn't want to go overboard. We'll see how it works out though. :p


    Thanks everyone! You've been very helpful. I feel a lot better about how it's working out now.
     
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