Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lorddread, Apr 4, 2011.
I'm trying to work out a system of magic. It's got to be inherited and hard not to use for a witch.
Hmmm. Is it hard not to use because of energy buildup, or simply from habit?
It might be interesting if they are born using magic, then have to learn mundane skills as they integrate into society.
Maybe it's a wild familiar that will keep harassing them if they try to stop using magic. (Like how a cat will bug its owner if it hasn't been fed that day.)
They are born with it. So anything physical that might happen if they don't use it?
Hmmm, considering the stereotype of witches being ugly, deformed hags, maybe that's what happens when they try to be "normal" and their outside degradation reflects the breakdown of their mental processes. They start to cackle and eat children if they resist too long.
I like the "familar bugs them if they abstain" thing. Maybe when they have children witches and warlocks find an animal to telepathicaly bond with. And the characters are like twelve does that affect things? Also how might a witch practice magic, it has to be something inate.
Oh, I used to be so on top of that. Try finding any book on "How to develop your psychic power" or if you're going to be more focus-based, 'Love spells for the teenage witch' might be the working title of a book that would work.
If your library uses the dewy decimal system, the 133 section should have some good stuff.
Invent it, make it your own, that's the cool thing about magic. You get to make up the rules, just be consistent, for Odin's sake please.
So how could magic incanations and gestures be justified? And wands.
Any way you want. I always thought it would be cool if a wand was waved around like an assault rifle. And I always thought a flying carpet seems more comfortable than a broomstick, but what do I know?
A wand could provide better aiming. When I had a palm pilot, I was always using a pencil instead of my fingers even for less-precise needs.
The wand could be a focusing instrument, that filters out the static and strengthens the magic.
The magic could be cast without one, but the wand makes it stronger.
It could be a compulsion to use magic. If I do not do something creative every once in a while, I get a strong urge to create something, and my mind starts thinking of putting stupid stuff together.
A build up of energy could also make them feel "uncomfortable" if they don't use it, even to the point of "sleep casting?" They suppress the urge when awake so their subcontious takes over and uses the energy when the person is a sleep? Using magic while asleep can be funny or serious, much the same as sleep walking. Its funny when the person walks in and says/does funny things, but it isn't to funny when the person walks out of the house and down the street, or falls down some steps.
I prefer to have rules for magic, to have a reason why things work, rather then just blink and it happens. Sometimes it might seem like it, because I can't explain it at that time in the story. But if we have rules then it is less likely to become a super power-like superman.
The stronger the magic, the more energy it takes to use, other wise the magic becomes to powerful and could destroy society as we(they) know it.
My Psi magic uses the mental power to heal injuries, including bone. It is tiring for the user and very painful for the injured, the healer can share the pain to make it tolerable for the injured, but they experience the pain.
Side effect? Florence Nightengale effect, they share the pain, thus there is a bond.
Everything in the world has balance, so magic should too. There has to be some benefit to study the arcane arts so much, but also it has to cost something to keep its power in check.
Cause and effect, ripple effect, chain reaction etc.
Ie if you cast this now, what will it do down the road?
What could be some limitations on magic?
Ah, now that one is interesting. I say that the best approach to that is to make up rules that would directly inconvenience your magic-users.
Another popular approach is to tie in morality. If they try to do certain things with witchcraft, it damages their humanity.
I once read a book where the protagonist used two very different forms of magic. Sorcery was quicker and easier, but sometimes he had to resort to witchcraft. (Actually, both forms of magic had things that they could and could not do.) Then he went to a place where sorcery didn't work, and he actually had to figure out how to make witchcraft do what sorcery was usually used for.
Any thoughts on elemental magic? Also anyone know of any alternate terms for witches and warlocks?
It's being less useful than usual, but here. http://thesaurus.com/browse/witch
Personally, I hate divergent words for whether a magic-user is male or female. Sorcerer vs Sorceress is fine, but I'd rather think of witches and wizards being completely different approaches to magic.
As for elemental magic, research video games. There is a formula called "elemental rock paper scissors" that should give a leap-off point. Heck, even your standard superhero comic books have "concept men" which includes elemental powers.
So what effects might manifesting the gift have on a child? Also witches bond with familar animals soon after birth, what effects might this have?
How do you want this magic to affect your world?
Is magic something that most people are frightened of, or is it a normal everyday occurrence?
Do you want big flashy Hollywood style magic with lightning and fireballs, or invisible "tugging at the strings" style magic where maybe a spells effects aren't immediately apparent?
What about restrictions?
You mentioned that magic users are born with the ability and it's hard for non-witches to use. But it really should be impossible if they aren't born with it, shouldn't it?
What can be accomplished with magic in your world?
Can someone lift themselves with a levitation spell? 10 people? Is levitation not possible? How about a fireball or ten?
Do magic users have a general knowledge of all areas of magic use, or do they specialize?
Can you heal some one with magic in your world?
Can you turn lead into gold? A mouse into a lion? A clear sky into a snowstorm? Farmland into desert?
Hopefully some of these questions can help kick start the brain storming process
Non-witches can never use magic. The story takes place in the here and now, most people don't know about magic. Urban fantasy would be a good term. And magic tends to look big and flashy, but magic can be applied to most situations, in fact their are probably more around the house, everyday uses for it than there are for exciting fanatsy movie situations. Magic users tend to know a enough about most fields of power to get by, but usaully have a field they're really, really good at. Often their skills are affected by what kind of familar animal they have.
Could this be an interesting reason for magic users to be careful with their powers? A witch is a natural portal for magic to stream into the universe, and they are naturaaly adapted to the manipulation of afformentioned power. Normal people are of course not adapted to it. But if a witch has released high levels of magic into a local enviroment, humans may subconciously manipluate it, poorly, with horrible results. So a magic user must pace themselves, or fear saturating the area with mystical pollution. Also magic is harder the more natural laws your trying to overide. And magic is drawn from the dimension the dead end up in.
That sounds a bit too much like Pullman's Dark Materials and that is one masterpiece of a trilogy you do not want to touch with a bargepole. And I mean that in a bad way...for you. I'm not putting your idea down though, I'm just saying read as many books in this genre as you can. Then, through the process of elimination, arrive at a completely out-of-the-box system that works for you & which does not have any heavy references to those in existence. Maybe that might help...?
Magic must be drawn from something, right? So, let it be from their own life energy. Being slightly more than human of course, they have elevated levels.
Why don't you give Stroud's Bartimaues trilogy a read. It has an interesting take on elemental magic - as tangible weapons rather than some sort of witchery.
So anyone have any thoughts on the excess magic idea?
The Forest Mage has an unusual mechanic for their magic system. Food fuels the magic, if they don't use it they tend to build up incredible bulk, when they use it, they reduce their size drastically.
If its modern day then have it passed down genetically, puberity is the first trigger and after that point it must be used frequently or suffer Migraines and eventually a comma, culminating in some kind of magical bodily implosion.
Same theme for a fantasy, have it trigger at puberity, passed down from mother to father (no genetics explanation), puberity trigger, migraines when its not used followed by comma, and finally a dangerous chain reaction resulting in an explosion and death.
Would it be interesting if magic was present before puberty, like from birth?
Any ways magic could be tied to dreams and imagination?
Separate names with a comma.