1. Stevedunks
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    Stevedunks New Member

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    Types of magic.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Stevedunks, Sep 12, 2011.

    Whilst deep into the plot of a fantasy story, I had suddenly realized that my use of magic is highly unoriginal. I understand that it's how you write it etc, but I was trying to think of any types of magic that are under-used. Things such as elemental magic, Harry Potter-type spells and 'the force' come to mind, but can anybody come up with anything else?
     
  2. CottonCandi
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    CottonCandi Active Member

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    How about black magic, like voodoo?
     
  3. A J Jaafari
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    A J Jaafari Member

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    Have you heard of L.E. Modesitt Jr.? He's got a very interesting 15-book series where magic is all based on the dichotomy and balance between order and chaos, with most wizards falling into one category or the other.

    When introducing Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey skipped "high magic" altogether and only had "mind-magic" abilities, like mindspeech, fetching, empathy, and foresight.

    There's also the D&D Cleric idea, where the magic is granted by a deity, rather than studied and learned.

    Dave Duncan's series about the "King's Blades" had each country developing their own sort of magic using eight elements, so it was a lot like an arms race with different technologies. He also wrote a book called "the Cursed" where the magic fell into seven categories, each determined by the astrological character of a specific planet, and happened to people if they survived the "star-sickness."

    In the book I've written, I've invented two types, which have to be bound together in order to function. That's all I'm saying until it's actually printed... ;)

    A J
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Basically magic either comes from without or within, and you can just decide on the source, but there's no really original way to do it. I've gone super old school with the magic I write, and basically come up with my own interpretation of medieval magic if it were a fantasy magic system. It quite nicely encompasses all magic types.

    Anyhow, it's what you do with it, not what you have :p For a series about the study of magic the HP universe has one of the least well-developed magic systems ever if you sit and logically try and work it out. There are so many flaws that basically either only much later books fix, are explained away, or you need to read author interviews and extra material (eg: Pottermore, the other small books Rowling released) to understand it. As someone who sits around figuring magic systems for fun, Harry Potter always really annoyed me on that front. :p BUT my point is that despite all the flaws, magic is integral to the story and so well-used that it rarely matters that sometimes it doesn't make much sense.
     
  5. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I've used several different types of magic, often based on D and D concepts. In essence they use three sources of magic - dieties which is the magic that priest's, paladins and druids use, i.e. magic granted by their respective dieties, knowledge and will based magic which is what wizards use, and personality or charisma based magics which is what sorcerer's and bards use. So I suppose the first asks a blessing of his diety, the second simply forces magic by virtue of knowledge and will, and the third sort of cajoles it by dint of personality. I often think Anne McCaffrey's windsingers would fall into this last category.

    But I've also divided magics up into schools similar to what was used in Arcanum, so you'll have elemental magics like casting fireballs, and lightning bolts, nature magic such as growing plants and calling animals, summoning demons, necromancy of course, and magics of dimension, i.e. transporting portals and freezing time.

    I think its up to you how you define your magic, the only important thing being that its consistent and makes some sort of sense to the reader.

    Cheers.
     
  6. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    A friend of mine believed that there are as many types of magic as there are stars in the sky, we have yet to discover them all though. But there are indeed many different types of magic to consider.

    First, the elemental magic. Fire, Earth, Wind, Water. These are the basic known elements of magic, and come with some regular known attacks and abilites. I.E; Fireballs, Gust of Wind, Sandstorms, etc etc. The series Avatar: The Last Airbender uses this bases, as does hundreds of books and movies all in their own. Sometimes other elements are added into this magic, like the lightning element. For example, thunder or lightning strike, etc etc. Then there is the light and dark element of magic, which takes more forms than any other magic depending on the mindset of the writer.

    Which brings me to my next point about "Light" magic. This type of magic can be granted by holy figures, and used, as stated, by paladins, druids and priest or priestesses. It believed to be a pure type of magic that can "purify" the things it is aimed at. Other times, "Light" magic can be refered to as a source of actual light like the sun or stars. Something that is bright and powerful.
    "Dark" magic is a wide expanse of magic that covers more then just simple things. I do think there are as many types of dark magic as stars in the sky sometimes lol. Dark magic can merely be the things considered taboo. Voodoo, necromancy, witchcraft, demon summoning, etc etc. Dark magic can be things like making a pact with the devil for a means of magic (the disney version of Anastasia is a prime example of it). Dark magic is most generally listed and classified as anything deemed "wrong" in the eyes of a person or people.

    And as Melzaar pointed out magic either is internal in its origin or it is given by an outside source.

    Another example that I can think of, but it is not seen as "magic", though it is of sorts, is in the series Full Metal Alchemist. In this series persons are able to use "alchemy" to do things. Whether it is building or destroying, healing or sickening. Now, the reason I say this borderlines magic is because of one key factor to this series. When some of the users perform their "alchemy" it does not come out in the sense of the traditional method alchemy was taught to us. It comes out flashy like magic. One of the secondary characters can set things aflame with the snap of his fingers. Another can blow things up clapping his hands. Another can change the shape of things by punching it with his gloves. The main character (Edward Elric) can do a great number of things by simply clapping his hands together. Sure, most of the characters need an "means" to assist them with their performance of their alchemy, but to me it seems more magical then scientific. I suppose one would have to look into the series themselves and decide on how they see it.

    But this is just my tid-bit. Hope it gives you some ideas.
     
  7. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    A friend of mine believed that there are as many types of magic as there are stars in the sky, we have yet to discover them all though. But there are indeed many different types of magic to consider.

    First, the elemental magic. Fire, Earth, Wind, Water. These are the basic known elements of magic, and come with some regular known attacks and abilites. I.E; Fireballs, Gust of Wind, Sandstorms, etc etc. The series Avatar: The Last Airbender uses this bases, as does hundreds of books and movies all in their own. Sometimes other elements are added into this magic, like the lightning element. For example, thunder or lightning strike, etc etc. Then there is the light and dark element of magic, which takes more forms than any other magic depending on the mindset of the writer.

    Which brings me to my next point about "Light" magic. This type of magic can be granted by holy figures, and used, as stated, by paladins, druids and priest or priestesses. It believed to be a pure type of magic that can "purify" the things it is aimed at. Other times, "Light" magic can be refered to as a source of actual light like the sun or stars. Something that is bright and powerful.
    "Dark" magic is a wide expanse of magic that covers more then just simple things. I do think there are as many types of dark magic as stars in the sky sometimes lol. Dark magic can merely be the things considered taboo. Voodoo, necromancy, witchcraft, demon summoning, etc etc. Dark magic can be things like making a pact with the devil for a means of magic (the disney version of Anastasia is a prime example of it). Dark magic is most generally listed and classified as anything deemed "wrong" in the eyes of a person or people.

    And as Melzaar pointed out magic either is internal in its origin or it is given by an outside source.

    Another example that I can think of, but it is not seen as "magic", though it is of sorts, is in the series Full Metal Alchemist. In this series persons are able to use "alchemy" to do things. Whether it is building or destroying, healing or sickening. Now, the reason I say this borderlines magic is because of one key factor to this series. When some of the users perform their "alchemy" it does not come out in the sense of the traditional method alchemy was taught to us. It comes out flashy like magic. One of the secondary characters can set things aflame with the snap of his fingers. Another can blow things up clapping his hands. Another can change the shape of things by punching it with his gloves. The main character (Edward Elric) can do a great number of things by simply clapping his hands together. Sure, most of the characters need an "means" to assist them with their performance of their alchemy, but to me it seems more magical then scientific. I suppose one would have to look into the series themselves and decide on how they see it.

    But this is just my tid-bit. Hope it gives you some ideas.
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whenever I've put "magic" into practice, it's been more along the lines of the PK/TK idea. Being able to manipulate matter, not through training, but through a genetic anomaly, usually. It's a scientific side of things, and I like it.

    The idea that you need to chant? Stupid. The idea that you need to channel it through something? Annoying. The idea that you can create something out of nothing? Illogical.
    Almost all magic systems have flaws. PK/TK, if you follow particle theory, almost fully disallows flaws.
     
  9. james crofoot
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    james crofoot Member

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    There's always the mana of earth sea. you taking something from somewhere and putting it where the caster wants it.


    Why don't you do a little reaserch on the net, type in a couple words and see what come up.

    Or maybe natural materials like crystals that amplify a person's natural powers. Something the caster has to use in order to cast spells.

    Do you think you want this magic to be quick spur of the moment stuff. Hand signals in the air or does the caster have to make elaborate drawings.

    Maybe just a twist on the wording would change things.

    If you do come up with something completely new you might have a hit on your hands. lol
     
  10. A J Jaafari
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    A J Jaafari Member

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    While I want my fantasy to feel real, I think it's important to remember that magic isn't real, and people who want to read about it aren't usually looking for something that obeys the laws of physics in the world we inhabit. Marion Zimmer Bradley made the point that fantasy is escapist fiction. That's the audience.

    I personally prefer for magic to have constraints, so it's not just an easy answer for everything. Modesitt's Spellsong Cycle could have gone that way, with the sorceress just singing whatever she needed. Instead, the songs rearrange things, instead of creating things from nothing. The sorceress uses her physical energy to do it, so she has to eat all the time or kill herself with a strong spell.

    While I prefer for it to be realistic, it's important to remember that magic is made up. I prefer for it to be well thought out, and have a logical or at least mythological system behind it, but many bestselling authors didn't worry too much about that.
     

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