1. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    What magic should be taboo?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by TheApprentice, Jan 30, 2015.

    Im talking about magic types, and by that I like elemental or pionic, which could each encompass a variety of many different spells. What type of these magics should be looked down on or shamed?

    Blood magic since its powerful?

    Necromancy since your using the corpse of the deceased?

    Telepathy since a person's thoughts are their own business?

    Something else im not considering?
     
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heeeyyy! This is a good question. I've been wondering the same thing!

    Bringing someone back to life (as in resurrecting, not reanimating) is one, I think. Can't just go around bringing all the dead people back to life.

    Other than that, and what you said, I got nothing. lol
     
  3. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    None. It all depends on how they are used in their applicable society.

    You should not purposely limit yourself based on your personal perspectives
     
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  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think what TheApprentice means is what kind of magic could be considered "bad" or "evil" in a fictional world, not what type of magic is considered cliche and shouldn't be written about.

    Is that what you meant, @TheApprentice, or did I misunderstand? o_O
     
  5. PandaPrincess
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    PandaPrincess Member

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    Hmm I guess if I were a member of a society where magical abilities were common place, I'd find telepathy quite taboo. There's a saying, although I cannot for the life of me remember how it was exactly worded, about being able to imprison the body but not the mind...telepathy could be perceived as a way of imprisoning the mind. It means no one could have any privacy, or freedom of thought or idea without it being 'seen' - consequently, people might suppress their true thoughts and ideas, resulting in an imprisonment of the mind.

    I could've worded that so much better haha
     
  6. Triad Editing
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    Triad Editing Member

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    I think the idea of telepathy being taboo is really interesting. It goes beyond what we would expect to be taboo (blood, death, violence, etc.) and is so much more subtle.
     
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  7. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Demon summoning magic -though that one tends to be only for those desperate enough to risk their souls.

    Disease magic - very nasty thing to do to people, even in warfare.
     
  8. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Any magic that is inconsistent (and this happens too much). The rest is fine.
     
  9. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    Magic that induces time travel. That crap is just overpowered.
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're asking like there is an objectively taboo thing. There isn't. Your world is going to have a society that differs from us. This is a given because they have magic. So what ever magic you want to make taboo is what is taboo. It really isn't that hard. You could say plant magic is taboo. Example;

    "Affecting the living Earth? How dare you consider it!"

    "But you raise the dead? How is that not worse?"

    "Dead! As in gone, had its chance. You're interacting with something that is still alive. You're evil!"
     
  11. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    This is what I am answering, and my answer stands.

    "You should not purposely limit yourself based on your personal perspectives," is just an advice not to purposely avoid writing about a certain type of magic or immediately make it a taboo in a story because one considers it taboo personally.

    The argument is much akin to gun control. Magic does not activate itself. Someone has to cast it.

    Personally, I use telepathy as a normal means of private and long-distance communication in a certain story of mines. It is not looked down or taboo in any way--same thing with raising the dead and using mind reading abilities.
     
  12. CedricMiddorick
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    Uh, taboo #1, you can't kill anybody.
    Taboo #2, you can't make anybody fall in love with anybody else.
    Taboo #3, you can't bring people back from the dead.
    Other than that, you got it!
     
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  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's your world. You have to decide what's taboo.
     
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  14. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    The simplest guide would be what the people living around the practitioner are likely to object to given the world and society you are creating.
     
  15. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Is your need for some taboo magic so that you introduce a bit of "man vs society" conflict and have your protagonists practitioners of taboo magic?

    Or is it to get your antagonists to act villainous by doing dark magic?

    Or is it some other reason I've not thought of?

    I ask because it shifts the creative focus between thinking of interesting reasons some sorts of magic might be taboo or thinking of interesting nasty magic types.
     
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  16. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    It depends...

    No, that may sound like a cop-out answer, but it really isn't. The answer depends entirely on the society that your story is set in, and the only other answers you will receive in this thread are born out of our own cultural identities. Even something like necromancy isn't a universal taboo, since different cultures approach death in different ways (along with the occult in general).

    Considering some of the quite frankly, outlandish taboos in some societies, I would say your list of taboo magic ranges between everything and nothing.
     
  17. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    Just wanted to add flavor to the world of the story. I also figured that if people could do magic, some kinds would be seen as wrong by the supernatural society in general.
     
  18. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well if there's no related plot about tabooness, then it does give you a lot of freedom. As others have said, any magic type you could think of could be taboo if you were inclined to build your society certain ways.

    If it's a general supernatural society, even counter magic might be considered in very bad taste, because it disrupts the everyday magic that the world has come to depend upon.

    Don't get to wedded to your choices at this point; story considerations might change what is the best magic to be considered taboo.

    Another factor which might alter answers to your question is whether the people chose types of magic to learn or if they're born with the ability to do a specific type.
     
  19. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    As others have said, "taboo" will depend on your fictional society's values. What do they feel is most important? Anything that goes against that value system would (most likely) be considered taboo. I say "most likely" because society can contradict itself at times, such as a society that values life and liberty, but is willing to kill and imprison those who threaten life and liberty. Nothing's perfect.

    My current project doesn't have "magic" per se, but it involves a sci-fi world where certain individuals have powers. (To be honest, it is magic, but no one calls it that in the story… except for a few snarky characters quietly knocking on the fourth wall.) Nothing is explicitly taboo, but powers are regulated by a government-like organization. One interesting example, from the society I've created, are healers, people with the power to control human biology (i.e. cure diseases, heal wounds, expel infection, etcetera).

    At first glance, you might think "that's a good thing, why would such a thing be taboo or heavily regulated?" Well, this story doesn't take place in the pseudo-medieval world of typical fantasy, where there's no such thing as medical science. In such a world, a healer would be seen as a godsend, because they have no proper medicine or medical knowledge. My story takes place two hundred years in the future, in a world where medicine, pharmacology, and healthcare are trillion-dollar industries. Imagine what it would do to the economy (i.e. to society) if people could do for free what these companies charge hundreds of dollars for. Also, bear in mind that healers are virtually immortal; their power allows them to fend off aging, disease, and the usual wear and tear of old age. Imagine the wealth and political power a person could amass if they lived a hundred or two hundred years, with a sound mind and body. After considering all of that, and weighing it against the kind of world I've built, I realized, "wow, such people could potentially be very dangerous to society." The people in charge would not let such individuals roam freely.

    The question isn't about the power itself and whether it's "good" or "bad" or "harmful" or "helpful." The question is will THEY allow it… they being society. And, if the answer is "no," what the heck can they do about it? Sometimes, the answer to that last question can be just as ugly as the taboo thing itself. There's enough plot fuel here to light a fire under any writer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  20. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    I think necromancy would be taboo. It is at least in a lot of my fantasy-related stories. It depends on what society is like in your universe though.
     
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  21. Lilith_Duat
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    Sex magic. What with all those sex magicians being deviants and rapists and having orgies. Obviously this isn't the case (maybe sex magic won't work without consent.) but non-practitioners wouldn't know that, or they might spread rumours.
     
  22. Song of the dawn
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    Song of the dawn New Member

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    'Taboo' very funny thing when you think about it. It means a lot of things to lots of different people. 'Taboo' to my grandma is cussing. 'Taboo' to a little boy might be holding a girl's hand. 'taboo' to my mom is talking about sex. 'Taboo' is a tricky word... it only has to do about what you think. that's it.
     
  23. CrowOfCalamity
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    CrowOfCalamity Member

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    Cool thing about fiction is that you can mold your world which ever way you want. You are practically god, shaping your lore to your liking. For instance, fire magic can be forbidden in the country of "Kira" because fire users, along time ago used their wretched magic to burn down cities and villages. Because of the trauma that the fire users caused, the people of Kira completely forbid any fire magic. The world is yours for the taking.
     
  24. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    If magic is something EVERYONE can do, then types of magic would be 'taboo'...if only a select few people, seemingly at random, are given VAST powers over everyone else, then MAGIC itself might be seen as taboo.
     
  25. Sipsik
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    Magic can use force, so there is little that is magic and not forceful. Idk, what kind of world is in your mind, benevolent or malevolent. So, this is up to you to decide, whether dark or white magic is taboo in the first place. And go on from there.
     

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